What life was like for a medieval leper

Sk27's skull shows no obvious signs of leprosy, although he probably experienced facial paralysis in life.

Story highlights

  • Researchers have genotyped leprosy through a medieval pilgrim's skeleton
  • Multidisciplinary analysis also revealed details of medieval life for a pilgrim

(CNN)In excavating the medieval site of the St. Mary Magdalen hospital cemetery and chapel in Winchester, England, researchers were looking to genotype a strain of leprosy. They wanted to shed light on the origins and evolution of the epidemic that plagued Europe in the Middle Ages.

Among the lesion-ridden skeletons they found and studied, they were intrigued to discover the undisturbed remains of a young man who once traveled a long way to die in a foreign land.