Claudia Maria MELISCH1 / Peter RAUXLOH2 / Natasha POWERS2 / Ines GARLISCH1
(1Humboldt-Universität Berlin, Germany / 2Museum of London, UK)
Keywords: GIS, osteology, cemetery, spatial data
An osteological and GIS based research into the medieval population of Berlin with comparative study of contemporary assemblages from London. In September 2013 we started an international collaborative project between Humboldt-University of Berlin and Museum of London Archaeology (MoLA), which centres on the osteological study of medieval population as recorded on the excavations at St. Peter Square (Berlin) from 2007-2009. By comparison of this assemblages with contemporary cemeteries excavated in London, the project aims to provide new insights into the lives of medieval Europeans, and the social and environmental context in which they passed them. There is great potential in a study combining the two medieval populations of Berlin and London. Such a comparison can provide a truly intra-European perspective on comparative matters such as diet, life style, health care, longevity and disease. Within the Berlin site, there is also an opportunity to examine the arrangement and use of the cemetery over time. How an individual’s status, health, age etc. may be reflected in the location or manner or their internment. This again could be usefully compared with the same analyses already completed on major London cemetery sites, particularly that of St. Mary’s Spitalfields. This potential has been unlocked by the use of the single context recording and planning methodology on the St. Peter’s site. This enables the granular comparison of individual traits within a true spatial and stratigraphic context. It allows these dimensions to return to the centre of the analytical matrix, and will enable the investigation of intra-cemetery organisation. The work in 2013 did concentrate on carrying out a rapid assessment level survey of 150 individuals. We prepared and processed the existing spatial data into a relational database and to a GIS environment.