The London cemetery evidence would suggest that London had a ‘normal’ urban population balance with no excessive numbers of men. This would indicate that it was not primarily military in character although it is difficult to be certain as not all the cemeteries have been fully excavated.
The eastern cemetery, beyond Aldgate, revealed a male-to-female ratio of 1.7:1. The ratio from burials recorded at Giltspur Street, part of the western cemetery immediately outside Newgate, was similar at 1.5:1. However, Cirencester, an urban centre, varied slightly at 2.2:1 and was matched by Poundbury in Dorset, an indigenous rural cemetery. At Trentholme Drive, York, interpreted as a garrison town, the ratio was 3.6:1.
The sex ratio remained constant in all age groups in the London inhumations where the body is buried, except at Giltspur Street in the western cemetery (WES89), where there were more females aged between 17 and 25 years present, perhaps due to death in childbirth.
The ratio differed, however, for cremation burials. There were 92 of these, but only 33 could be determined as female and 16 as male, a reversed ratio of almost 2.1:1. The sample, however, was very limited and the sex of half of the bodies cremated could not be determined.
If, as suggested above, London had a normal urban population, one would also expect a normal age mix. In the eastern cemetery, three-quarters of the inhumation skeletons were adult (19 years or older), and the remaining quarter 18 or under, 15.5 per cent being classed as children or teenagers (6-18 years) and 9.5 per cent as infants (under 5).
The greatest number of deaths (31 per cent) occurred in mature adulthood, between the ages of 26 and 45, although this may be to problems with ageing methods which showed that only 10.5% survived beyond the age of 45. The evidence that Olussa, the possible merchant, died at the age of 70 may mark him out as an exceptionally old man.
At the other end of the date range, very young individuals were largely missing from the eastern cemetery. It has been calculated that the ratio of those from under one year of age to those aged under 20 years in a sample from a normal population should be in the region of 4:1 to 4:3.
For the eastern cemetery, however, this figure was 1:16.8. This is very unlikely to be a true representation of the living population, and the most likely explanation is that a proportion of young individuals, especially infants, were buried in areas of the cemetery which have not been excavated.
There is also evidence that young babies may not have been buried in the cemetery at all. Roman law allowed dead perinatal and neonatal babies to be buried at their parents’ homes, and the skeleton of a baby up to two months old was found buried under the floor of a workshop on the waterfront at Regis House, Lower Thames Street (KWS94).