Medicine Through Time - Chapter 1

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FROM PREHISTORY TO THE EMPIRES OF EGYPT, GREECE AND ROME 3000BC-500AD

Section 1 - How healthy were people in prehistoric Britain?

-The Tomb of the Eagles at Isbister, Orkney, 3000BC

  • In 1958 a cave was found in Isbister, discovered the 5000 year-old burial place of the Orkney tribe.
  • They had short lives - few men and even fewer women reached over 40 because of childbirth.
  • People suffered lots of pain, severe pain in the knees, wrists and joints (Osteoarthritis) and tooth 'abscesses' although were not so common, were very painful.
  • High level of fitness because people led fit outdoor lives, tooth decay rare because no sugar. Average height not very different to people in 1800s.

People died from: 

  • diseases (they could not be stopped from spreading, especially amongst the young), 
  • infections (a cut could lead to blood poisoning, and then death, also difficult to stop…

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