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Sophia Mills – University of Reading

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Sophia Mills

Ageing and the Aged: The Social and Physical Implications of Senescence AD 900 - 1550.

This research utilises a combination of standard and specifically developed ageing techniques, as well as palaeopathological analysis, to re-age senescent individuals from a constant and unrealistic estimate of 46+ years, into more precise chronological and social age categories. With the aim of highlighting the need to ‘find’ older individuals in the archaeological record, and to significantly contribute to the further understanding of the life course in the past. This research spans four noteworthy sites from NE England, incorporating a cross-section of society; Fishergate House - Urban, Wharram Percy - Rural, St. Helen-on-the-Walls - Poor, Barton-upon-Humber - Wealthy. As well as exploring the realities of old age in the medieval period, including disease, disability and interpersonal violence and how this differed between social sectors. Thus far, the preliminary results have revealed an interesting divide in the health and social status of senescent individuals from different sectors of society.


About Me:

I completed my BA Archaeology and History at the University of Reading (1st class hons) before moving to the University of Southampton to complete an MA in Osteoarchaeology. My current research on old age follows and advances upon the work completed for my undergraduate dissertation which reviewed the ageing methods developed by the fantastic Dr Ceri Falys. Prior to commencing my PhD I gained experience in various fields, from fashion merchandising to pathological microbiology; both of which have come in very useful during my research. I thoroughly enjoy being involved in community outreach and learning, and volunteer regularly with the university and the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology (BABAO), as well as participating in events such as the Pint of Science Festival.

Research Interests:

  • Biological anthropology.
  • Osteology.
  • Senescence.
  • Ageing.
  • Life course.

Research Groups:

Diet, Health and the Life Course 

       S Mills


Twitter: @sh_mills


Professor Mary Lewis (University of Reading)

Professor Anne Lawrence-Mathers (University of Reading)

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