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Human size

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  • James Winkler
    O.k... did some more research... best I can find is that the average difference was about 2.5 to 3 between medieval individuals and modern folk... so
    Message 1 of 73 , Feb 29, 2004
      O.k... did some more research... best I can find is that the 'average' difference was about 2.5" to 3" between medieval individuals and modern folk...  so while there was "a gradual and continual increase in size over time"... it doesn't appear to be quite as dramatic as I believed.  Not dramatic... but present and, perhaps, marginally significant.
      So... O.k. - the average increase in size is more like 4.5%  and that isn't perhaps as significantly interesting...  but I'm still bettin' they built to their customers... ;-D
      Later -
      (who really does enjoy taking the grey cells out for a walk every once in a while... as long as they come home at night...)
      1. At www.univ-lile1.fr/pfeda/Ngonut/2000/0003g.htm (Millenial changes in height - implications for stunting) - Q: "In a recent review of the 'millennium', the Humanitarian Times ran a statement about the large height difference between adult males in the US today and their ancestors 500 or 600 years ago.  Making the case that nutrition and health have contriubted to a gradual gain in stature.  Do you know what is the real difference between, say, American adult males' height in the US Today, and say, British or French males at, say, 1000 AD or 1500 AD? I imagine its roughtly 16 inches or so in difference."   
          Answer: "This is not as straight forward as one would hope.  The period you're interested in
          is in some respects a bit of a 'black hole'.  16 inches difference seems impossible.  We can easily
          go back to the mid-1700':  here are a few data-points for heights of adult males to compare with
          the American general population (from NHANES surveys), 1970's: 177 cm.  
           USA. soldier immigrants from Europe, 1760: 168 cm (soldier immigrants, 1864: 169 cm)
              Norway, 1761: 159 cm (in 1984, the value was 179 cm) Irish soldiers, 1792-99: 169 cm
              English soldiers, 1762-99: 168 cm
              American soldiers: 1790: 172 cm
              British and Irish soldiers.  1800-14: 168 cm.
              Scottish prisoners: 1840s-1850s: 168 cm.
              American soldiers: 1864: 172 cm.
              South Italy, 1874-6: 161 cm.
           All Italy, 1874-6: 162 cm.
              The best series of stature data for Europe comes from the Mediterranean region (of the
           Greco-Roman political culture complex), from analysis of skeletal remains (again, adult males):
              650 - 300 BC            170 cm
              300 BC - 120 AD         172 cm
              120 - 600 AD            169 cm
              Medieval Greece         169 cm
              Byzantine Consantinople 170 cm
              1400 - 1800             172 cm
              1800 - 1920             170 cm
              1980's                  175 cm
      Spoilheap archaeology - human skeletal remains (www.spoilheap.co.uk/hsrintro.htm ) has:
      "... the Normal average for most Roman to medieval groups was round 5'7" for males and 5'3" for females."
      "The average height for an early 17th-century English man was approximately 5’ 6". For 17th-century English women, it was about 5’ ½". While average heights in England remained virtually unchanged in the 17th and 18th centuries, American colonists grew taller. Averages for modern Americans are just over 5’ 9" for men, and about 5’ 3 ¾" for women. The main reasons for this difference are improved nutrition, notably increased consumption of meat and milk, and antibiotics."
      ... and
      "Excavations of cemeteries dating back to medieval England have provided a range of heights for both men and women and a mean average for both. Across the sites, the mean average height for males was 171.26 cm. [66.79 inches or 5’ 6 ¾"]. For females, it was 157.55 cm. [61.44 inches or 5’ 1 ½"]."
      ... and
      "A study published in Britain in 1988, using data compiled from 1981, determined that the average height in the modern British population was 173.8 cm. [67.78 inches or 5’ 7 ¾"] for males and 160.9 cm. [62.75 inches or 5’ 2 ¾"] for females. For modern white Americans, the average stature for males is 69.1", or just over 5’ 9", and for women, 63.7", or about 5’ 3 ¾"."

      ... then ya got yer' ("Blood Red Roses: The archaeology of a mass grave from the Battle of Towton AD 1461, By Veronica Fiorato, Anthea Boylston and Chystopher Kunsel)
      "The study focuses on the remains of 37 or 38 individuals ranging in age from 16 - 25 years through to 36 - 50 years (an approximate average age of 30 years old at the time of death).  The exact circumstances surrounding the presence of the individuals on the battlefield are obviously unknown but the Commissions of Array allowed each side to recruit by force men aged between the years of 16 and 60.  At this point a civil war had been raging for six years and this was to be the battle to end it all, so it is reasonable to suspect that each side recruited everyone that they could.  Unsurprisingly all the individuals are believed to be male, ranging in height from 5'4" to 6'0" (1.6m - 1.8m).  Interestingly it is the taller individuals that display evidence of healed wounds that may suggest they were professional soldiers or at least veterans of previous violent encounters. "
      ... and
      "Report on the First International Conference on Ecconomics and Human Biology, Tuebingen, July 11-14, 2002:
      "With a similar methodology, Richard Steckel (Ohio State) closed the chronological gap with evidence that average male heights declined by 6.4 cm. between the early Middle Ages and the 17th/18th centuries.  Possible explanations for this phenomenon include the worsening of climatic conditions, urbanization and commercialization accompanied by the spread of diseases.  Human physical stature in Europe did not recover to 11th century stature levels until the early 20th century."
    • James W. Pratt, Jr.
      Vikings had a special wooden tool to use instead for a pump.....a bailing bucket. As well as another that was more like a shovel. James Cunningham Also its
      Message 73 of 73 , Feb 13, 2006
        Vikings had a special wooden tool to use instead for a pump.....a bailing bucket.  As well as another that was more like a shovel.
        James Cunningham
        Also its worth mentioning that later period ships had pumps installed because they leaked allot
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