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Arkiv for kategorien ‘Bioarchaeology’

The diagnosis and context of a facial deformity from an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Spofforth, North Yorkshire [en]

søndag den 29. september 2013

The diagnosis and context of a facial deformity from an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Spofforth, North Yorkshire by Elizabeth Craig-Atkins and Geoff Craig. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (2012)

Abstract
An individual aged between 6 and 7 years at death from a 7th to 9th century cemetery at Village Farm, Spofforth, North Yorkshire, presented significant pathological swelling to the left facial bones. The ectocranial surface was bulbous and uneven, and the expanded diploë was densely packed with a mass of thick trabeculae. Radiographic and histological analysis, in combination with the macroscopically observed pathological changes, supported the differential diagnosis of fibrous dysplasia. The skeletal changes to the left face and jaw would have resulted in a significant facial deformity. Examples of individuals with physical impairments or disfigurements from Anglo-Saxon cemeteries are rare.

Nevertheless, it seems that a significant proportion are afforded unusual burial practices more often associated with deviancy, for example, at the edge of cemeteries or on a reversed orientation, seemingly indicating that their diminished physical capabilities or altered physical appearance had a detrimental effect on their social status. The child from Spofforth was, however, buried in a normative manner, extended, supine and in a plain earth-cut grave, with no indication that their facial deformity had prompted unusual funerary provision. This example of facial disfigurement contributes to a growing corpus of potentially disabled individuals from early medieval England.

Click here to read this article from the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology

The Porsmose Man: A Neolithic skeleton from Denmark [da]

lørdag den 25. maj 2013
The skull of the Porsmose Man
The sternum The location of Porsmose

Image 1: The bone arrowhead still sat in the skull, when the skeleton of a 35-40-year-old man man was found in 1946 in the peat bog Porsmose, near Næstved. Another arrow was also deeply embedded in the man’s breastbone. Both arrows must have been fired at an angle from above and from close distance. This suggests that the man was surprised by his attackers or perhaps was the victim of an execution. After this the body was thrown out into what was then a lake. The arrows are a type which belong to the Single Grave Culture period.

Image 2: The Porsmose man’s breastbone (sternum) was perforated by a bone arrow.

Image 3: The Porsmose skeleton was found in a bog north-east of Holme Olstrup near Næstved.

The skull is on display at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen

Skull used for practicing trephining [da]

tirsdag den 16. april 2013

This skull fragment, found in a London Hospital cemetery, had clearly been used by medical students to practice trephining, or the drilling of holes in the skull to relieve intracranial pressure in cases of skull fracture, and to treat other ailments.

Source: Kate Ravilious: Haunt of the Resurrection Man: A forgotten graveyard, the dawn of modern medicine, and the hard life in 19th-century London

Myrtis: Face to Face with the Past [en]

søndag den 17. marts 2013

Stage by stage the facial reconstruction of an 11-year-old girl known as ‘Myrtis’ whose skull was unearthed in excellent condition from a mass grave with victims of the Plague that struck Athens of 430 BC.

The original skull was replicated via three-dimensional modeling and rapid prototyping techniques. The reconstruction followed the Manchester method, laying the facial tissues from the surface of the skull outward by using depth-marker pegs as thickness guides. The shape, size, and position of the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth were determined according to features of the underlying skeletal tissues, whereas the hairstyle followed the fashion of the time.

Open sources for age determination of human skeletal remains [da]

mandag den 11. marts 2013

This should keep you busy for a while - a bunch of interesting links via theolduvaigorge:

Age estimation from the sternal end of the rib
Age estimation from the sternal end of the rib

Leprogenic odontodysplasia [da]

tirsdag den 29. januar 2013

New Open Access Article: Vítor M.J. Matos & Ana Luísa Santos: Leprogenic odontodysplasia: new evidence from the St. Jørgen’s medieval leprosarium cemetery (Odense, Denmark)

Leprogenic odontodysplasia
Leprogenic odontodysplasia

The old cemetary belonging to the leprosy hospital here in Odense was excavated between 1980 and 1981. It was in use from 1270 to 1560. The 1544 skeletons from the cemetary are stored at our anthropological department (ADBOU) at the University of Southern Denmark. A wonderful collection of approx. 15,000 primarily medieval skeletons.

You can see pictures of a mother and her unborn child, also from St. Jørgen’s leprosarium in Odense here.

Severe rotoscoliosis with gibbus deformity [da]

mandag den 28. januar 2013

Severe rotoscoliosis with gibbus deformity

35 Y/O male with congenital spinal anatomical abnormalities (kyphosis and scoliosis due to formation and segmentation failure). This deformity exaggerated with trauma at childhood.

The left scoliotic curve is angular and the kyphosis is extreme (Gibbus deformity). Bone detail is characteristically confused at the deformity. Multiple formation and segmentation failures with old collapse and compression fractures are noted at T11-L1 levels. Severe rotational deformity also is seen. Spinal canal is narrowed at the angle of the deformity.

Ovarian tumour, with teeth and a bone fragment inside, found in a Roman-age skeleton [da]

torsdag den 24. januar 2013
Calcified ovarian teratoma
Calcified ovarian teratoma

A team of researchers led by the UAB has found the first ancient remains of a calcified ovarian teratoma, in the pelvis of the skeleton of a woman from the Roman era.

The find confirms the presence in antiquity of this type of tumour – formed by the remains of tissues or organs, which are difficult to locate during the examination of ancient remains. Inside the small round mass, four teeth and a small piece of bone were found.

Teratomas are usually benign and contain remains of organic material, such as hair, teeth, bones and other tissues. There are no references in the literature to ovarian teratomas in ancient remains like those found in this study, led by the researcher Núria Armentano of the Biological Anthropology Unit of the UAB and published in the International Journal of Paleopathology.

The tumour in question is rounded in shape, with a wrinkled surface, of the same colour as the bones, about 43 mm long and 44 mm in diameter. It was found in the right-hand part of the pelvis of a woman of between 30 and 40 years of age and who lived around 1,600 years ago, and came from the Roman cemetery in the archaeological site of La Fogonussa (Lleida). A macroscopic examination and a scan revealed four teeth of anomalous morphology inside the tumour, two of which were adhering to the inside wall of the tumour, and a small bone fragment.

Read more here

Original article: Núria Armentano, Mercè Subirana, Albert Isidro, Oscar Escala, Assumpció Malgosa, "An ovarian teratoma of late Roman age", International Journal of Paleopathology, Volume 2, Issue 4, December 2012, Pages 236-239, ISSN 1879-9817, 10.1016/j.ijpp.2012.11.003. (pdf)

The Gladiator Graveyard [da]

tirsdag den 8. januar 2013

Read presentation here

Thanks to Morbid Curiosity for this link

Life and Afterlife: Dealing with the Dead in the Viking Age [da]

lørdag den 5. januar 2013

Professor Neil Price (Archaeology, University of Aberdeen) delivers three lectures focusing on the fundamental role that narrative, storytelling and dramatisation played in the mindset of the Viking Age (8th-11th centuries), occupying a crucial place not only in the cycles of life but particularly in the ritual responses to dying and the dead.

Early medieval Scandinavians’ attitudes to death provide a window on the Viking mind, and they were monumentalised in some of the most spectacular burials known to archaeology. A study of these complex and spectacular funeral rituals is not only fascinating in its own right, but is inevitably also a meditation on this particular culture’s responses to the human condition. The Vikings’ unique view of the world can provide genuinely deep perspectives on the fundamentals of life, on the fears of mortality that confronted them as they still confront us.

Event Date: September 26, 2012

Source: http://www.cornell.edu/video/?videoID=2443