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Department of Archaeology

Current Research Postgraduates

Miss Davina Craps

(email at


Health inequalities are widely reported in Britain according to geography, social status and gender. Clinical evidence indicates that joint disease in Britain is strongly influenced by socio-geographical factors; affected joints differ between men and women and living more northerly aggravates the condition. This research aims to explore these inequalities in Post-Medieval society in England, specifically in relation to osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is frequently observed in archaeological skeletons, but current methods for its classification and description are subjective and lack standardization. Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that has a debatable history. Much has been written about its history and many people believe it to be a recent disease. It has been established that the disease was undeniably present in post-medieval Europe. This research will attempt to determine the osteological expression and distribution of rheumatoid arthritis in post-medieval Britain. It is vital to explore the character and prevalence of this condition in the past as it may still be evolving.


This project will establish, in an archaeological context, the epidemiology of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in relation to different social groups. It will seek to develop more rigorous recording techniques that will then be applied to archaeological populations in a holistic manner, by incorporating factors such as diet, sex, historical sources and environment. Unlike previous research on the subject this project will not be focusing on deriving activity-related information from joint disease, since previous efforts have proved fruitless. The contribution this PhD will enable us to understand more about the antiquity of these joint diseases and contextualize them in a post-medieval framework.

Research Topic

Contextualizing Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis in Post-Medieval Britain

Research Groups

  • Bioarchaeology Research Group