Date of Award

June 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Shannon Novak


Bioarchaeology, Central Europe, Early Medieval, Life Course, Microhistory, Osteobiography

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


This dissertation examines the skeletal remains and mortuary practices from two cemeteries at the early medieval site of Libice nad Cidlinou in the Czech Republic. The 9th and 10th centuries in Central Europe have been characterized by political consolidation and the rise of Christian institutions. As Christianity gained influence in the region, conversion altered not only religious beliefs: political landscapes, disease ideologies, material culture, and bodies were also transformed. The skeletal remains and mortuary contexts of 260 individuals from the Akropole and Kanín cemeteries at Libice are compared to examine how social status and engagement with Christianity influenced daily life and the formation of bodies. To do so, osteological data is integrated with archaeological and textual sources. Three thematic areas further inform on how bodies are entangled with large-scale historical processes: birth and infancy, violence and warfare, and disease experiences. As a microhistorical bioarchaeology, this project is relational and multiscalar with an emphasis on individual osteobiographies that inform how historical processes are experienced and enacted through individual lives.


Open Access