Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

Article of the Month

Indexers select an article or essay at the beginning of each month that is outstanding in its line of argument, wealth of significances, and writing style. We particularly look for pieces that will be useful as course readings.

September 2015

Cantigas de Santa Maria
Burial of the Dead, Central France (probably diocese of Clermont) last quarter of the 15th century, Book of Hours, Use of Clermont, Burney 332, fol. 69 (Source: British Library, Public Domain image)

Shapland, Fiona, Mary Lewis and Rebecca Watts. "The Lives and Deaths of Young Medieval Women: The Osteological Evidence." Medieval Archaeology 59 (2015): 272-289.

"Written sources from the medieval period focus mainly on the activities of adults, particularly males and often those from the wealthier sections of society. Recent scholarship has attempted to redress this balance by giving attention to medieval women and children, but we are still limited by what we can learn about the daily lives of all members of medieval English society. Osteology, the study of human skeletal remains, suffers from no such bias and can provide substantial and detailed information on growth, health and daily life of the general population. This paper presents the results of a new analysis of the skeletal remains of over 300 medieval girls and young women aged at between 14 and 25 years from a number of English cemetery sites. We incorporate data from the published archaeological literature as well as documentary evidence to provide new insights into the lives and deaths of young medieval women." [Reproduced from the journal page on the Taylor & Francis Online website.]