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Examining Reactive Arthropathy in Military Skeletal Assemblages: A Pilot Study Using the Mass Grave Assemblage from the Battle of Towton (1461)

Banton, ME; (2014) Examining Reactive Arthropathy in Military Skeletal Assemblages: A Pilot Study Using the Mass Grave Assemblage from the Battle of Towton (1461). Papers from the Institute of Archaeology , 24 , Article 1. 10.5334/pia.466. Green open access

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Abstract

Military personnel are often subjected to physical exertion, sleep deprivation, deficient diets, overcrowding, and stress. All of these influences are capable of compromising the immune system’s ability to ward off disease-causing bacteria, thus explaining why the historical narrative of war is frequently accompanied by reports of death and suffering due to epidemics of infectious diseases. Historically some of the most common infections included: diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid fever, gonorrhoea, and streptococcal tonsillitis. The bacteria which cause these diseases are also capable of triggering arthritis. When an arthritic condition is triggered by an infectious microbe it can broadly be referred to as “reactive arthropathy,” of which the spondyloarthritides (SpAs) are of great interest. Since the bacteria associated with these arthritic conditions are responsible for the epidemics which have plagued combatants for centuries, it is reasonable to assume that reactive arthropathy was present in past military populations. This assertion can be tested through a prevalence study of military related skeletal assemblages. To test the methodology and gain preliminary results for this research project, a pilot study was carried out using remains from the 1461 Battle of Towton. The methodology was deemed to be sound and the statistical results, while not significant, were promising.

Type: Article
Title: Examining Reactive Arthropathy in Military Skeletal Assemblages: A Pilot Study Using the Mass Grave Assemblage from the Battle of Towton (1461)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.5334/pia.466
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.5334/pia.466
Additional information: Copyright: © 2014 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1470752
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