Santé et pratiques médicales des Bretons insulaires et continentaux du Haut Moyen Âge (V-Xe siècles) : revue de la littérature ouverte, analyse croisée des données historiques et archéologiques

Abstract : Health and medical practices of the early medieval Britons & Bretons (5-10th century AD). Open litterature review, crossed analysis of the historical and archaeological data. Introduction. Through written sources and osteological evidence we have a knowledge of the health state and medical practices of ancient populations. The first major works about the early medieval Britons dated from the late 1940's. Since then, many works and discoveries have been made in different fields of research. A synthesis of the historical and archaeological evidence from Britain and Brittany could improve our knownledge of the health state and the medical practices of the early medieval Britons. Methods. Open litterature review of the early medieval texts and archaeological and palaeopathological studies from Brittany, the South West and Wales. Evidences about health, diseases, care providers and medical practices were extracted from those sources to be qualitatively analysed by thematics. Results: 28 early medieval texts and 47 studies were included. Palaeopathological data showed the rather healthy character of those rural populations, suffering few deficiencies and rarely victims of important trauma or violences. Palaeodemographical data showed an average age at death at about 30 years. Death rates of infants and adult women were important. A few cases of tuberculosis and leprosy were noted. Dental conditions were dominated by calculi and periodontal diseases. The writings completed that view with evidence for other illnesses who would not have left their mark on bone remains. Medicine had a rationnal practice inherited from Antiquity. A magico-religious conception was well illustrated by the saint healers of the breton hagiography. The surgical skills of the Bretons were demonstrated by the presence of 20 cases of trepanation. Conclusion. This open litterature review was a successful update about health state and medical practices of the early medieval Britons. Evidence was rich and diversified. In the future the creation of a database for ancient bone remains and the standardization in palaeopathology may allow pan-european studies. Imagery and molecular biology technics could also be applied on the early medieval briton populations as they have recently been for other ancient populations.
Document type :
Master Thesis
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Benjamin Franckaert. Santé et pratiques médicales des Bretons insulaires et continentaux du Haut Moyen Âge (V-Xe siècles) : revue de la littérature ouverte, analyse croisée des données historiques et archéologiques. Médecine humaine et pathologie. 2014. ⟨dumas-01006406⟩

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