Research Article

Arthritis in Roman Britain.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 287 doi: (Published 24 December 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;287:1909
  1. A K Thould,
  2. B T Thould


    The pattern of arthritis in Roman Britain was investigated by examining the skeletons of 416 adults from the Roman cemetery at Poundbury Camp near Dorchester, Dorset. The mean height of the people was not much less than that of the current British population, and the prevalence of right handedness was similar to our own. There was a high prevalence of osteoarthritis for such a relatively young community, with particularly severe changes in the vertebral column. The pattern of joints affected by osteoarthritis was different from that seen now, but the prevalence of vertebral ankylosing hyperostosis was much the same. Rheumatoid arthritis was seen as often as the expected rat would indicate, given that the population died young, but it was rare. Other forms of arthritis, including gout and ankylosing spondylitis, were not seen.