Trauma arising from violence was notable in the assemblage and one of the most compelling examples is adolescent male Skeleton 20292, from the earliest phase, with bladed cuts to their neck. The pattern and distribution of the cuts were consistent with two blows to the lower region, delivered from behind. The cuts did not sever the individual's head, but they showed no signs of healing, suggesting they were the cause of death.
Dating between 860 and 1040 cal AD, skeleton 20292 was found in an earth cut, east-west orientated grave, to the north side of the church. Chemical analysis (of stable isotopes) of a tooth showed that they had originated from outside the UK, possibly eastern France, south-eastern Denmark or the southern area of the modern region of Saxony-Anhalt in Germany, and had travelled to Ipswich in their teens. This may indicate an entire family relocation, or it might be that the individual had travelled for work, perhaps as a young apprentice. Interestingly, the skeleton had a healed stress fracture on their spine, which is the type of injury we might associate with athletes today and which could just as likely be caused by repetitive, strenuous work. Thus, we cannot say whether the boy had been an apprentice or not, but it is likely that he had engaged in heavy physical activity – perhaps work related – from a young age.
This case emphasises the potential social tensions and dangers of the period. Possible causes of the neck trauma include execution (in the manner extended to Viking invaders), a victim of Viking attack, or a victim of racial assault.