Medieval bones tell a stark tale of hard work and physical trauma

The remains of an individual buried in Cambridge's  Augustinian friary are shown here.

London (CNN)Social inequality was "recorded on the bones" of the medieval residents of Cambridge, England, a new study of hundreds of sets of human remains in the city has revealed.

Researchers studied the remains of more than 300 individuals from a variety of social backgrounds, buried in three different city cemeteries from the 10th to the 14th centuries.
The remains of numerous people were unearthed on the site of the Hospital of St. John the Evangelist.
The team from the University of Cambridge examined bones from a parish graveyard for working people, a charitable hospital where the ill and destitute were laid to rest, and a friary for the wealthy, detailing every break and fracture to create a barometer of social inequality.
    X-ray analysis of the bones revealed varying levels of hardship -- accident, occupational injury or violence -- across the social spectrum.
    Of the three sites, remains excavated at the Hospital of St. John the Evangelist -- a 12th-century house for the needy -- contained the fewest fractures. Many residents had skeletal evidence of chronic illnesses like tuberculosis, and would have been unable to work.
    X-rays show butterfly fractures to both femurs of a man buried in the Augustinian friary.
    Some 44% of working people had bone fractures, compared with 32% of tho