University of Surrey

Test tubes in the lab Research in the ATI Dance Research

Leprosy in pre-Norman Suffolk, UK: biomolecular and geochemical analysis of the woman from Hoxne

Inskip, S, Taylor, G, Anderson, S and Stewart, Graham (2017) Leprosy in pre-Norman Suffolk, UK: biomolecular and geochemical analysis of the woman from Hoxne Journal of Medical Microbiology, 66. pp. 1640-1649.

[img] Text
Inskip et al submission proof (002).pdf - Accepted version Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 6 October 2018.

Download (3MB)

Abstract

Purpose.

A woman’s skull, exhibiting features of lepromatous leprosy (LL), was recovered from a garden in Hoxne, Suffolk. The absence of post crania and lack of formal excavation meant that diagnosis and dating was uncertain. The aim of this research was to confirm the diagnosis using biomolecular means and second, to place it in context with other British leprosy cases using SNP genotyping and radiocarbon dating.

Methodology.

Bone from the skull was analysed by ancient DNA (aDNA) methods and subjected to radiocarbon dating. As a result, stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values were produced, both useful for assessing aspects of the woman’s diet.

Results/Key findings.

aDNA confirmed the presence of mycobacterium leprae and genotyping demonstrated an ancestral variant of subtype 3I, the same lineage recently identified in living squirrels in the south of England. Radiocarbon dating revealed the woman lived approximately between 885–1015 AD, providing evidence for endurance of this subtype in East Anglia, having been previously identified as early as the fifth–sixth century (Great Chesterford) and as late as the thirteenth century (Ipswich).

Conclusions.

The confirmation of a new pre-Norman leprosy case in East Anglia is of interest as this is where a high proportion of cases are located. Possible factors for this may include preservation and excavation biases, population density, but also connection and trade, possibly of fur, with the continent. Future research on other British LL cases should focus on exploring these aspects to advance understanding of the disease’s history, here and on the continent.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Biosciences and Medicine
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Inskip, S
Taylor, G
Anderson, S
Stewart, GrahamG.Stewart@surrey.ac.uk
Date : 6 October 2017
Identification Number : 10.1099/jmm.0.000606
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2017 The Authors. Published by the Microbiology Society.
Uncontrolled Keywords : medieval, SNP, PCR, East Anglia, leprosy, archaeology
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 20 Mar 2018 09:28
Last Modified : 20 Mar 2018 09:28
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/846050

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year


Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800