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Nutritional Health Status and Urban Food Economies: The View from Roman Britain

  • Author(s): Jackson, Brittany Layne
  • Advisor(s): Kennedy, Gail E
  • et al.
Abstract

My analysis centers on nutritional health status and dental health in skeletal remains (n=63) from the British town of Gloucester during the Roman period (AD 43- 410). By comparing my results to those from another major town, Roman York (n=262), I discuss nutrition and social difference among Romano-British urban populations and suggest that the Gloucester population experienced relatively poor nutrition. It is possible that Gloucester's history as an early colony with an economy derived primarily from its chartered status made it difficult to draw a strong food economy to the location. As a result, its population may have been more vulnerable to nutritional deficit than the more organically developed town of York. Despite continued perceptions of a positive Roman influence in Britain, bioarchaeological evidence from Gloucester demonstrates that, imperially planned settlements with high rank did not necessarily encourage good health in its citizenry.

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