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Illness and inclusion: Mobility histories of adolescents with leprosy from Anglo‐Scandinavian Norwich (Eastern England)

Filipek, Kori Lea and Roberts, Charlotte A. and Gowland, Rebecca L. and Montgomery, Janet and Evans, Jane A. (2021) 'Illness and inclusion: Mobility histories of adolescents with leprosy from Anglo‐Scandinavian Norwich (Eastern England).', International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 31 (6). pp. 1180-1191.


Leprosy is one of the most notorious diseases in history, widely associated with social stigma and exclusion. This study builds on previous work to reevaluate the medicohistorical evidence for social stigma in relation to leprosy. This is achieved by isotopic and palaeopathological analyses of adolescent skeletons (10–25 years old) from the Anglo-Scandinavian (10th–11th centuries AD) parish cemetery of St. John at the Castle Gate in Norwich (Eastern England/East Anglia). Core enamel samples from premolar and molar teeth from 10 young individuals with diagnostic lesions for leprosy were selected for radiogenic strontium (87Sr/86Sr) and oxygen (δ18O) stable isotope analyses. Isotope data did not exclude anyone from the regional range. Palaeopathological data and archaeological contexts suggest that those with visible signs of leprosy were buried with their local community and in a normative manner, thus challenging the notion of social exclusion experienced by people with leprosy throughout the Medieval Period. This study underscores the importance of bioarchaeological data in challenging broad medicohistorical and archaeological narratives.

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Publisher statement:This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Filipek, Kori Lea, Roberts, Charlotte A., Gowland, Rebecca L., Montgomery, Janet & Evans, Jane A. (2021). Illness and inclusion: Mobility histories of adolescents with leprosy from Anglo‐Scandinavian Norwich (Eastern England). International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 31(6): 1180-1191., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.
Date accepted:21 July 2021
Date deposited:16 August 2021
Date of first online publication:03 August 2021
Date first made open access:03 August 2022

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