New research into the origins of leprosy in Ireland has revealed connections with the Viking world. A team from Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Surrey, the University of Southampton, and the University of East Anglia analysed five skeletons: three from Dublin (SkCXLVIII, SkCXCV, SkCCXXX), one from Armoy, Co. Antrim (Sk171), and the last from Ardreigh, Co. Kildare (Sk1494). All five presented with lesions consistent with leprosy, but to confirm the diagnosis the team conducted aDNA analysis of the remains.
Our cover story takes us to the longest archaeological ‘site’ in Britain: the banks of the River Thames. For ten years, Thames Discovery Programme members have been braving all weathers to record the refuse of centuries of Londoners and newly exposed archaeological features before they are swept away by the tidal river’s ebb and flow. […]
Scattered across England, a host of monumental mounds have long been interpreted as Norman castle mottes. Large round mounds boast a much earlier pedigree, however – as this month’s cover star, Silbury Hill, attests. A recent project has been investigating whether any sisters to Silbury are hiding in plain sight – with some surprising results.
Ancient DNA analysis of an Anglo-Saxon woman from East Anglia, afflicted with leprosy, has indicated that there could be a link between the spread of the disease and squirrels. The discovery adds to the already comparatively high number of medieval leprosy cases from the region.