Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Jonathan Bethard, Ph.D, D-ABFA

Committee Member

Diane Wallman, PhD

Committee Member

Christine Pink, Ph.D, D-ABFA


Bioarchaeology, England, Middle Ages, Migration, Urban-Rural


Social and environmental factors play a key role in determining biocultural phenomena that can be observed on skeletal populations. Genetic markers in the form of nonmetric traits can help understand underlying questions about population movement and subsequent gene flow. During the medieval period in England, feudalism may have limited migration and created sedentary lifestyles for the peasant class who lived and worked on land owned by the nobility. By using a biological distance model, questions about the interactions between rural and urban populations, as well as the restrictive economic system that was in place during the Middle Ages, can be addressed by comparing the homogeneity (or lack thereof) among different English skeletal populations. This research sought to accomplish two primary goals: 1) Use embodiment theory to help understand how socio-cultural factors impact populations physically and, 2) Compare rural populations against urban populations to examine if migration was restricted in medieval England under feudalism, studies of which are currently lacking in the bioarchaeological literature. Results from the biological distance model show a significant genetic variation between sites at longer distances in medieval England. Socio-cultural factors as well as the networks of cities and their surrounding villages and towns may have played a part in migration during the Middle Ages.