Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Allen Zagarell

Second Advisor

Dr. Jacqueline Eng

Third Advisor

Dr. Sarah Hill

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This research examines stature in order to assess the socio-economic status of Gotland, an island (and municipality) off the coast of Sweden, before the 1360's. Gotland was known as a wealthy and autonomous peasant republic although it was loosely ruled by the Swedish Crown. In 1361, the Danish Army laid siege on the seaport city of Wisby to obtain its riches. Three days after the battle, the approximately 1800 dead Gotlanders were tossed haphazardly into five common graves. Archaeological excavations took place from 1905-1930 by Bendt Thordeman, among others. The human remains were analyzed in 1937. Osteological analysis in the early to mid 1900's was poor at best. The 1939 publication Armour from the Battle of Wisby 1361 is the only published reference from these graves and includes a short chapter on the skeletal remains. My research re-examines the approximately 119 individuals from Common Grave three for stature using osteological measurements and formulae as well as for age at time of death and biological sex to get a better understanding of who fought. In doing so, I hope to confirm the fabled wealth of this island by assessing nutrition, health, socio economic status, and stature.