Paige Ashleigh Lynch

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New Mexico, Albuquerque, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10703

Approve Date

April 15, 2024

Project Title

Lynch, Paige (New Mexico, Albuquerque, U. of) "Sociocultural change and its biological impact on non-elite individuals in Medieval Poland"

I propose to investigate the interplay between biology and culture by examining how non-elite people responded biologically during significant sociocultural and climatic change periods. The human skeleton represents one’s biological history, recording lived experiences that reveal an individual’s biocultural response to their environment. A political-economic lens allows for a deeper interpretation of why sociocultural changes impact biology whereas embodiment theory enlightens how the body responds. Traditionally, non-elites are overlooked in historical and archaeological studies, despite comprising most of a population. In line with recent dialogues in anthropology, this research gives agency to historically silenced individuals. This project will use molecular and skeletal analyses of human remains combined with historical documentation to examine how institutional inequality impacts ordinary people. The late Medieval (14-16th c.) and post-Medieval (17-18th c.) periods in Poland provide an ideal case study because Poland experienced a cultural shift toward a feudal economic social structure. I will investigate how sociocultural factors impact biological responses by evaluating the relationship between sociocultural changes and migration, the effects on diet, and the impacts on early life skeletal manifestations of stress and adult longevity. The results can advance bioarchaeology into current migration conversations to better establish future migration policy.