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Durham University

Department of Archaeology


Publication details for Professor Charlotte Roberts

Knusel, C., Roberts, C. & Boylston, A. (1996). Brief communication When Adam delved an activity-related lesion in three human skeletal populations. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 100(427-434): 427-434.

Author(s) from Durham


A rare, activity-related lesion, the clay-shoveller's fracture, was identified during osteological analysis in three human populations dating from the Roman to the later Medieval period in England, circa fourth to 14th centuries A.D. The prevalence of this fracture in these populations suggests an osteological indicator for several possible manual activities, but also one that may be the result of a long-standing human subsistence adaptation requiring digging in the soil. Since males as opposed to females appear to be preferentially affected, the occurrence of such injuries has the potential to provide an insight into the sexual division of labor in earlier human populations.