St Martin's Uncovered: Investigations in the Churchyard of St. Martin's-in-the-Bull-Ring, Birmingham, 2001 [Hardback]

J. Adams (Author); Megan Brickley (Author); Simon Buteux (Author); Tate Adams (Author); Richard Cherrington (Author)

ISBN: 9781842172018 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2006 | Language: English 288p, H297 x W210 (mm) 174 illus, 136 tabs, CD

St Martin's Uncovered


The archaeological excavations at St. Martin's churchyard, Birmingham uncovered 857 burials dating to the late 18th and the 19th century. The burials represent a cross-section of Birmingham's population during the peiod of the Industrial Revolution. Detailed anthropological analysis was carried out on a sample of 505 of the skeletons, investigating aspects of demography and health. Compared to the modern British population, the analysis revealed a high prevalence of metabolic diseases, such as scurvy and rickets. The results of these and other pathological conditions reveal that there were very real links between the prevalence of diseases and the socio-economic status of the individuals under investigation. This is most striking in the patterns of various types of trauma, which graphically illustrate the hard lives led by working-class women. The investigations also provide insights into burial practices and funerary trade, and documentary research on named individuals from the vaults provides information on family histories which complements and informs the anthropological and archaeological analyses. Throughout the report an attempt is made to place the findings in the context of their social, economic and religious background, in order to provide an integrated analysis. The report concludes with contrasting reconstructions of two funerals at St. Martin's, one of a wealthy iron merchant and the other of a butcher's wife.

Table of Contents

Overview: Excavations in St. Martin's churchyard and the archaeology of burial grounds in Birmingham (Michael Hodder)
Introduction (Simon Buteux)
The parish, the church and the churchyard (Josephine Adams)
The excavations (Simon Bateux and Richard Cherrington)
The people: Physical anthropology (Megan Brickley et al)
The impedimenta of death: Specialist reports (various)
The families: Documentary research (Josephine Adams)
St. Martin's in context: Life in the parish (Josephine Adams et al)
St. Martin's in context: The church and funerals (Josephine Adams et al)
Two funerals at St. Martin's (Josephine Adams)

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