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Sometime between and , the Christ Church headstones were removed from the St. As St. In , the church was sold to Yale University and through , the grounds were cleared for additions to Yale New Haven Hospital [ — ]. There are no references to a cemetery in any available real estate transactions.

For individuals likely participating in the industrial workforce ages 13 through 45 , infectious disease remains the most common cause of death, especially for males Fig 4b. All data from S1 Table.

A tale of two boomtowns

Left: percentage surviving l x per year age classes in comparison to contemporaneous urban and rural cemeteries. Right: Log survivorship l x curves. See Table 1 for values. Fig 6 illustrates the elements recovered for each individual. All individuals exhibit skeletal markers of stress, disease, trauma, and occupation Fig 6. All individuals are middle aged adults based on suture closure and bone histology review. Metric and nonmetric assessment S2 and S3 Tables indicate European ancestry for both individuals, with B2 most similar to the 19 th century American sample, and B3 most similar to the Norwegian sample Fig 9 ; S4 Table.

Circles represent location and etiology of pathologies. Note YNH4 A is missing lower body elements. YNH4 A has a damaged splanchnocranium. See S4 Table for data and abbreviations. There is variation in the structure and location of these markers—Individual A female shows marked degenerative arthritis of the cervical vertebrae, while B also female shows enthesophytes and bone spurs at both knee joints Fig The two males show multiple indicators of heavy labor, including rugose muscle markings, enthesophytes and vertebral markers of compression and stress S5 Table.

B3 is the oldest individual recovered and shows the most severe arthritic features, including bilateral eburnation of the scaphoid bones. Bottom left: lateral view of YNH4 B proximal tibia right and a normal tibia left. Scale in mm. Calculus is present on the anterior dentition of all individuals, presenting with annular distribution around the crown and highest thickness on the lingual aspect of the anterior dentition Fig All individuals exhibit severe periodontal disease and antemortem tooth loss; alveolar resorption in complete in all individuals except Individual B, who retains the apical aspects of alveoli for both upper and lower anterior dentition.

Linear enamel hypoplasias show seriation and vary in severity across individuals Figs 11 and Enamel hypoplasias are located in the three- to four-year age range of crown formation [ ], which may be associated with weaning, lack of adequate nutrition, immunological assaults, or any combination of these variables [ 9 , — ].

Top: dental calculus accretion on YN4 A anterior mandibular dentition. Bottom: serial linear enamel hypoplasias across YNH4 A maxillary incisors and premolars. Multiple indicators of chronic infection and other health issues are present across individuals. Individual B3 has the most severe and chronic health issues—multiple ribs show remodeling and periosteal new bone medially Fig The distal aspects of the left tibia and fibula show severe osteomyelitis and active bone remodeling Fig Note relatively higher translucence and lower bone density in B relative to B3.

Each male exhibits antemortem and perimortem trauma indicators respectively. Individual B3 has multiple antemortem trauma markers, including fused cervical vertebrae and proximally fractured ribs with marked callus bone formation Fig The pattern of damage appears consistent with hyperextension or torqueing of the neck, with fracturing of the C1 posterior arch and compression of the right C2-C4 articular facets.

Top left: overview of affected. Remaining images are detailed images of fracture patterns. In toto , all four individuals show shared cultural ecology and labor requirements, with chronic health issues inscribed on bones and teeth reflecting lower socioeconomic status and associated amplification of metabolic stressors. Genetic data were preserved for all four individuals recovered, but nuclear data were not recovered from individual B2.

Genetic data support osteological sex determination for the other individuals. Individuals B and B3 show the strongest genetic similarity within the three individuals Table 2. Hair and eye color are consistent with European ancestry.


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Individual B most likely had blue eyes, while individual B3 had brown eyes. Individual A eye color is intermediate between the latter two. Individuals A and B likely had dark but not black hair, while B3 had dark blond hair Table 2. Mitochondrial sequence data of the Hyper Variable Region I and II were used to determine the specific mitochondrial haplotypes. We were able to determine the Y chromosomal haplotype for individual B3. In all cases, no allelic markers were consistent with population genetics reported from Ireland.

Supplementary Information

Multiple individuals show thick black residue on the labial aspect of their anterior dentition Fig Elemental analysis via Bruker xPRF indicates relatively high concentrations of manganese, iron and yttrium, indicating occupational exposure i. For all YNH4 individuals, we focus analysis on tooth enamel isotopes to reconstruct diet and childhood place of residence.

Top right: close up of RP 4. Bottom: Bruker pXRF analysis. Abbreviations in Table 3. Note the highly elevated REE in bone compared to enamel, indicating postmortem diagenetic change in all of the bone samples. This is consistent with historical evidence for European-based diets and suggests minimal consumption of C4-based food products i.

Sr concentration in the four individuals assayed range from 31 to 84 ppm, which is on the low end of Sr concentrations measured in modern and archaeological human enamel [ ]. However, this Sr isotope range is not unique to Britain—Sr isotope ratios in human enamel from individuals born during the 20 th century show considerable overlap between Europe and the United States, limiting the value of strontium for distinguishing geographic origin in this case [ ].

In contrast to Sr isotopes, Pb isotopes provide greater discrimination of European versus United States origin [ ]. Enamel samples from all four individuals show elevated Pb levels indicating historic anthropogenic exposure [ ]. The Pb isotope signal for Individual B2 associates closely with 19 th century individuals buried in Colorado, USA, but note that those individuals are likely recent European immigrants themselves [ ].

Note that all samples with exception of B2 plot within the average Europe field, consistent with inferred European origin of these individuals. B2 plots outside the European field. Figure modified from Kamenov and Gulson [ ]. Oxygen isotope data of the YNH4 sample are presented in Fig These values also fall outside those reported for Great Britain All four samples also exhibit higher than expected frequencies of the oral archaeon Methanobrevibacter and members of the candidate phylum Sachharibacterium TM7 , a known analytical artifact that has been previously reported for ancient oral microbiome samples that contain low levels of exogenous contamination but highly fragmented DNA [ 92 ].

The genera Porphyromonas , Treponema , and Tannerella , which contain members associated with periodontal disease, were each found at low abundance 0. Because it has been previously shown that Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection can be identified by genetic analysis of dental plaque [ ], we analyzed the dental calculus calcified dental plaque of the four YNH4 individuals for genetic sequences specific to this organism. Mycobacterium sequences were present in the dental calculus of three of the four individuals A, B, and B3 , but at very low levels 0. Further analysis revealed that these Mycobacterium sequences are inconsistent with Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex strains, and likely originate from common soil mycobacteria.

These results therefore do not support a diagnosis of tuberculosis, but they also cannot exclude the possibility that these individuals were infected with tuberculosis. Following discovery, our initial assumptions about the Christ Church cemetery suggested that it contained the remains of Irish and Irish-American parishioners. Macromorphoscopic analyses of the YNH4 skeletons provided concordant data, and the presence of a single rosary component connects these individuals to available historic records.

Their location stacked near the edge of the cemetery fence line suggest that they were interred at a time when space was a premium, during a period of epidemic and multiple interments, or due to other cultural factors. As craniometric data alone cannot distinguish related populations [ , ], a narrow bioarchaeological investigation would have misidentified these individuals as Irish immigrants. Multidisciplinary analyses upended these initial assumptions. While European individual and population-level variation and gene flow do not support assortative mating [ , ] but see Domingue et al. The early to mid th century was a period of political unrest and upheaval, economic disparity and epidemics across multiple European nations [ — ].


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As the immigrant diaspora into the United States and Connecticut intensified in scale and scope [ , ], political, social and economic biases led to immigrants crowding into urban tenements or slums [ — ]. Like most New England cities, New Haven area immigrants mostly worked as laborers, working on laying the Farmington Canal, shipbuilding and working in garment factories [ — ].

All four skeletons show indicators of musculoskeletal, infectious disease and addictive substance i. While debate persists on the roles of senescence, etiology and coding standards on entheseal pathologies [ — ], male individuals B2 and B3 show rugosity and arthritic changes likely associated with manual labor [ 11 , — ]. While the skeletons of the two women are incomplete, we posit that the elements present indicate gendered labor biomarkers [ , ].

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Individual A shows enthesopathies and muscle insertion rugosity in the upper body. Individual B shows skeletal markers of reduced estradiols and associated osteomalacia, and tendon ossification and inflammation indicators are present at the knee joint [ ]. We suggest that both of these women may have been employed in the garment industry or some other repetitive labor regime. The combination of a long workday especially in the 19 th century , prolonged postural strain and repetitive work generate multiple joint stressors including neck, back and knee strain, leading to musculoskeletal pathologies [ — ].

These data further support the hypothesis that these individuals faced metabolic and immunological stresses throughout development and adulthood.

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Infectious disease epidemics and high mortality are clear in the Christ Church burial records, with typhus and dysentery deaths showing temporal pulses likely associated with seasonality and crowded living conditions S1 Table. Our study is concordant with these prior studies—while skeletal markers such as rib lesions and osteomyelitic changes are present, M. The lack of molecular evidence does not falsify the possibility of tubercular infection, but this case reiterates the difficulty of connecting epidemiological and bioarchaeological data [ ].

Northeastern USA cities are well-known for overcrowding lower-income immigrants into slums and tenements [ ].

A tale of two crises : a multidisciplinary analysis

For many urban 19 th century churches, cemetery size and plot availability led to chaotic burial distribution—stacking of burials in urban cemeteries is commonly reported [ — ]. Demographic data for the Christ Church cemetery show that infectious disease was the most commonly recorded cause of death. Skeletons representing the remains of marginalized populations due to ethnicity, migration, gender or other factors show similar patterns of dental pathologies, lesions, trauma and occupational health issues[ 42 , 43 , 57 , — ].

We posit that socioeconomic, religious and geographic i. Compiling and examining individual, local and regional mortuary data sources associated with skeletal remains reiterates the value of multidisciplinary efforts and illuminates the intersection of structural violence, health, mortality and bioarchaeology [ 57 , — ]. Christ Church cemetery demography also mimics data for an 18 th century New Orleans slave cemetery, a population suffering from severe structural violence [ 99 ]. We offer two possible explanations for this pattern—the Christ Church parishioners faced similar pressures as these populations, including syndemic infectious disease risk and structural violence pressures [ , ].

Alternatively, the observed mortality pattern and lower life expectancy are artificial, reflecting the opening of St. Further review of burial records across the city and state may provide further support or falsification of these hypotheses. As described above, immigrants were critical in the developing American industrial complex, but immigrants from this region are underrepresented in United States census records during the — period.

The Prussian and Austrian Empires encompassed German, Polish and southeastern European territories including the Mediterranean coast , but the early to mid 19 th century was a period of marked unrest and sociopolitical upheaval [ — ]. Efforts to connect census data to the YNH4 skeletons were largely unsuccessful, as records for the city of New Haven provide limited data on ethnicity.