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An evaluation of the significance of 'scars of parturition' in the Christ Church Spitalfields sample

Cox, M.J.; (1989) An evaluation of the significance of 'scars of parturition' in the Christ Church Spitalfields sample. Doctoral thesis, University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

The relationship between the preauricular sulcus and pitting on the dorsal aspect of the pubic corpus in association with pregnancy and parturition has aroused considerable interest since the early 1970's. The major limitation of much of the discussion is that it has been based on data derived from skeletal samples with either unknown or uncertain obstetric histories. The excavation of the crypts beneath Christ Church, Spitalfields between 1984 and 1986 produced 968 skeletons, 387 of which were recovered in association with securely associated, legible coffin plates. Of the 138 adult females in this sample the parity status of 94 has been reconstructed from historical documentation. Such obstetric factors as parity status, number of births, age at first and last births and birth spacing have been examined in relation to the presence or absence of the preauricular sulcus, its type and size, pubic pitting, sacral scarring and the extension of the pubic tubercle. The results suggest that the preauricular sulcus and sacral scarring are independent of obstetric events and that although the small numbers of females with more than one pubic pit or an extended pubic tubercle had born children, the absence of these features is associated with both parous and nulliparous females. Unlike previous studies, both localised cortical resorption and tubercle extension were evaluated as a component part of the obstetric pelvis. The more capacious pelvis proved to be associated with wider and longer preauricular sulci and with the presence of pubic pitting. In order to facilitate comparative studies the Christ Church females are described as part of the sample from which they are derived. Their environmental and cultural backgrounds are discussed.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:An evaluation of the significance of 'scars of parturition' in the Christ Church Spitalfields sample
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
Additional information:Thesis digitised by British Library EThOS
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology

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