BRING OUT YOUR DEAD! DESTINY AND HEALTH IN THE MIDDLE AGES

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How much did your health shape your fate in the Middle Ages? If you were a typical peasant or townsperson, how much was your fate in your own hands? How much did it really depend upon chance encounters with random microbes, runaway carts, crop failures, and the like? In this talk, members of the After the Plague: Health and History in Medieval Cambridge project experiment with several ways of getting beyond abstract numbers and putting a human face on the problem. One way is to look at actual life stories of people from medieval Cambridge, as revealed by multidisciplinary studies of their skeletons. A second is to use virtual, interactive life stories, using a computer game to play out the lives of typical medieval people. Finally, moving up to the historical scale, we use World Health Organisation style methods to ask "what was the biggest health problem of the Middle Ages?" If you got to play God and wipe out one health problem, what would it be? The Black Death? Influenza? Toothache? Come and find out!

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