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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Tina Jakob

Pētersone-Gordina, E., Gerhards, G. & Jakob, T. (2013). Nutrition-related health problems in a wealthy 17–18th century German community in Jelgava, Latvia. International Journal of Paleopathology 3(1): 30-38.

Author(s) from Durham


The aim of this research is to assess the presence of stress in a high status German population from Jelgava, Latvia. The skeletal material used in this study came from a recently excavated church cemetery, with most of the burials dating to the 17–18th centuries. In total, 108 individuals (80 adults and 28 non-adults) were analysed for evidence of scurvy, rickets/osteomalacia and anaemia. The presence of scurvy and healed rickets/osteomalacia could not be confirmed in any adult individual. Among non-adults, a possible diagnosis of scurvy was considered in six individuals, and active rickets was suggested in two others. Cribra orbitalia in adult and non-adult individuals also argued for the presence of childhood stress. These results, combined with previously acquired data on linear enamel hypoplasia, indicated that children in this population suffered from nutritional deficiencies. The presence of childhood stress markers in adult individuals implies that many children survived stress episodes, possibly due to generally good access to resources, as supported by historical accounts and previous studies on stature and dental disease.