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Crypt : Life, Death and Disease in the Middle Ages and Beyond - Alice Roberts


Life, Death and Disease in the Middle Ages and Beyond

By: Alice Roberts

Hardcover | 17 July 2024

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The new book by Sunday Times bestselling author of Ancestors and Buried - the final instalment in Professor Alice Roberts' acclaimed trilogy.

In her previous two bestsellers, Professor Alice Roberts powerfully and evocatively revived people of the past through examining their burial rites, bringing a fresh perspective on how they lived. In Crypt, Professor Roberts brings us face to face with individuals who lived and died between ten and five centuries ago.

The stories in this book are not comforting tales; there’s a focus on pathology, on disease and injury, and the experience of human suffering in the past. We learn of an episode of terrible brutality, when hate speech unleashed a tide of violence against an ethnic minority; of the devastation caused by incurable epidemics sweeping through medieval Europe; of a protracted battle between Church and State for the heart of England – a battle that saw the most famous tomb in the country created and destroyed; and a tumultuous story, forged in the heat of warfare, that takes us out of the Middle Ages into the sixteenth century and the reign of Henry VIII.

In the Middle Ages, there’s barely a written note for most people’s lives. The information we can extract from archaeological human remains represents is an essential tool for understanding our history. Most of these dead will remain anonymous. But, in the thrilling final chapter, Professor Roberts introduces an individual whose life and bones were marked by chronic debilitating disease – and whose name might just be found in history…

Beautifully written, vividly drawn, and expertly researched, this is a brilliant and unexpected portrait of modern Britain.

About the Author

Professor Alice Roberts is an academic, author and broadcaster, specialising in human anatomy, physiology, evolution, archaeology and history. In 2001, Alice made her television debut on Channel 4’s Time Team, and went on to write and present The Incredible Human Journey, Origins of Us and Ice Age Giants on BBC2. She is also the presenter of the popular TV series Digging for Britain. Alice has been a Professor of Public Engagement with Science at the University of Birmingham since 2012.
Industry Reviews
'An addictive picture of medieval Britain from a cutting edge perspective . . . Roberts is a brilliant guide to the cutting-edge fusion of archaeology and genetics that is doing something special: revealing new facts about a past most people consider dead and buried' 

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