An interdisciplinary investigation into Carolingian medical knowledge and practice

Year of award: 2016


  • Claire Burridge

    University of Cambridge

Project summary

I am proposing an interdisciplinary project that will present a more comprehensive picture of Carolingian health and medicine. I will investigate early medieval medical knowledge in the late 8th and 9th centuries and explore the question of its possible application through an in-depth analysis of textual sources and skeletal remains. 

Medical manuscripts shed light on the medical knowledge circulating among the literate elite, illustrating the perceptions of medicine in ecclesiastical communities, and the adaptation and incorporation of classical learning in a Christian, medieval world. A review of the skeletal remains from this period will provide insights into the health and lived experiences of people from all walks of life. 

I will compare the medical knowledge contained in the manuscripts with the palaeopathological and osteological record captured by the bones asking if there is evidence that this knowledge was applied. I hope to assess whether different types of communities and texts yield different answers.