Iron Age Life Spans

From: Joerg Baumgartner (
Date: Thu 29 Feb 1996 - 20:13:00 EET

Arguing with Peter Metcalfe, as usual...

>>Well, I liked the 80% solution

>aka Estonian Vodka ;-)

No, rather cask strength "water of life", thank you.

>>because it let me use the age range I am used to while inferring
>>iron age life spans on the Gloranthans,

>Iron Age Life spans, eh? This would be something like 'the average
>man lived to see 55 years before croaking'.

No, rather like "by age 35 you will have lost most of your teeth, strength,
etc. Fact is that the Hallstatt graves, for instance, held people mostly of

30 to 40 years of age, or so.

>It has been remarked
>on this digest before that this sort of figure is the _average_
>life expectancy at _birth_. Since the infant mortality in those
>days was simply horrendous, this takes down the life expectancy down
>quite a bit. Of course, depopulation through fighting also makes a
>sizable dent in the life expectancy.

Still, malnutrition, disease, and other factors significantly shortened the
life of Iron Age people, even after childhood.

I did not mean infant mortality when using that number, and I won't argue
about mean and median age. What I mean is that the most common adult death
will take place around age 35 in an early Iron Age society, be it by war,
failed harvests, diseases, or premature aging.


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