The remains of Kilkenny victims of the Great Famine have been used in a new breakthrough study on the effects of starvation.
The study has been published this week by researchers from two top English Universities.
Scientific evidence of starvation has been gathered from the teeth of local victims of the Famine.
20 bodies from those who died in Kilkenny Workhouse during the years 1845 to ’52 were used to establish markers for people who died of the effects of starvation.
It’s the first time analysis of nitrogen and carbon in human teeth has been used in this way.
The research was carried out at the University of Bradford, and Durham University.
The results have shown that some of the individuals who died during the Great Famine had in fact survived earlier famines.
Others died of malnutrition because of the Workhouse diet which consisted mainly of imported American maize.
They’ve also found evidence of body tissue breaking down and being recycled as the starving body starts, essentially, to eat itself.
The 20 bodies used were from the mass grave that was uncovered at the former Kilkenny Workhouse at MacDonagh Junction a number of years ago.
This work will now pave the way for new insights into other archaeological finds around the world.