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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Despite the wealth of historical documentation for medieval medicine there is a lack of archaeological evidence. Some studies have highlighted the importance of archaeobotany and zooarchaeology for future developments in this field, but this also highlights how historical discussion frequently centres on medicine only available to the wealthy or religious, not the majority of the secular population. The discussion on public health focuses on recent scientific studies and osteological research about two major diseases, the Black Death and leprosy, raising questions over burial practices and social attitudes to two of the most well-known medieval epidemics. The chapter examines hospitals and almshouses, built to care for the poor, sick, and vulnerable. The possibility of these institutions sharing similar forms of access and layout caused by the complex relationship between religious and secular areas is highlighted, a trait that is seen even in later secular almshouses of the fifteenth and sixteenthth centuries.

Keywords: medicine, public health, hospitals, almshouses, Black Death, leprosy, regimen, diet, cemeteries, poverty

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