Friday, May 25, 2007

How Little We've Grown in 1,000 Years

Despite what you may have heard, your medieval ancestors were not dwarves. After examining 3,000 old skeletons, scientists have concluded that people have not grown substantially in the past millennium.

From the 10th century through to the 19th, the average height of adult men was 5ft 7in or 170cm - just 2in below today's average.

Women were an average of 5ft 2in or 158cm - just over an inch shorter than today.
But what about all those low doorframes in medieval buildings, and the tiny suits of armor cluttering museums? Sebastian Payne, chief scientist for English Heritage, explains:
"The reason why you get small pieces of armour is they are the ones made for rich small kids which didn't get heavily used and so survived.

"Small doorways are more to do with heating efficiency than anything else." [Link]

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