2021 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Cheryl Anderson


This research examines morbidity and mortality in three burial samples from the greater London area dating to the 18th and 19th centuries CE. In particular, this project examines the impact of socio-economic status on the demography of these skeletal samples as well as the prevalence of syphilis. In order to accomplish this, published data from Chelsea Old Church, Cross Bones and St. Pancras cemeteries were examined. Variables include age-at-death category (for example perinate, 0-5 years, 6-11 years, etc.) adult sex and presence or absence of syphilis. The results of this study indicate that the Cross Bones cemetery, which contains individuals of low socio-economic status, has a very different demographic and disease profile compared to higher or mixed socio-economic status Chelsea Old Church and St. Pancras. Cross Bones is characterized by a higher proportion of infants and adult females compared to Chelsea Old Church and St. Pancras. Additionally, Cross Bones has a much higher prevalence of syphilis. The differences observed in this research are consistent with reports that individuals interred in Cross Bones were primarily low-status single women (prostitutes) and paupers.



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