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Dental disease and dietary isotopes of individuals from St Gertrude Church cemetery, Riga, Latvia

Petersone-Gordina, P.; Roberts, C.A.; Millard, A.R.; Montgomery, J.; Gerhards, G.

Dental disease and dietary isotopes of individuals from St Gertrude Church cemetery, Riga, Latvia Thumbnail


P. Petersone-Gordina

G. Gerhards


This research explores oral health indicators and stable carbon and nitrogen isotope data to explore diet, and differences in diet, between people buried in the four different contexts of the St Gertrude Church cemetery (15th– 17th centuries AD): the general cemetery, two mass graves, and a collective mass burial pit within the general cemetery. The main aim is to assess whether people buried in the mass graves were rural immigrants, or if they were more likely to be the victims of plague (or another epidemic) who lived in Riga and its suburbs. The data produced (from dental disease assessments and isotope analyses) were compared within, as well as between, the contexts. Most differences emerged when comparing the prevalence rates of dental diseases and other oral health indicators in males and females between the contexts, while isotope analysis revealed more individual, rather than context-specific, differences. The data suggested that the populations buried in the mass graves were different from those buried in the general cemetery, and support the theory that rural immigrants were buried in both mass graves. Significant differences were observed in some aspects of the data between the mass graves, however, possibly indicating that the people buried in them do not represent the same community.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 26, 2017
Online Publication Date Jan 24, 2018
Publication Date Jan 24, 2018
Deposit Date Jul 21, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jan 25, 2018
Journal PLoS ONE
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 1
Article Number e0191757
Public URL


Published Journal Article (5.5 Mb)

Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
Copyright: © 2018 Petersone-Gordina et al. This is
an open access article distributed under the terms
of the Creative Commons Attribution License,
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided the original
author and source are credited.

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