International Journal of Osteoarchaeology

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1099-1212
Publications
Article
Archaeozoological data for the period of 10 000–5000 bp were rare for the southeastern Pacific coast, until recent work provided data from eight sites in Peru and Ecuador. These sites span the early to mid-Holocene period, during which time modern climatic conditions became established. Vertebrate faunal data from these sites provide an opportunity to explore the influence of mid-Holocene environmental changes on fishing in Peru during this time. With two exceptions, most faunal collections are dominated by marine animals, with virtually no terrestrial vertebrates. Many of the marine organisms are catholic species, tolerant of a wide variety of water conditions, rather than ones which clearly prefer warm–tropical or warm–temperate ones. Warm–tropical species are more common in the northern assemblages, as would be expected. There is a temporal pattern as well. Within three subdivisions of this area, warm–tropical animals diminish in abundance, and warm–temperate animals increase. These differences probably reflect cultural responses to mid-Holocene environmental change, in which coastal waters from southern Peru into Ecuador became cooler. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Tarsal coalition (TC) is defined as an abnormal fusion of two or more tarsal bones. The fusion may be fibrous, cartilaginous or osseous and can be congenital or acquired in response to infection, articular disorders, trauma, neoplasm or surgery. We report a case of a talocalcaneal (TCC) type of tarsal coalition in a medieval skeleton from Northwest Germany dating to ca. 1050 AD. The fusion is of osseous type. Plain AP radiographs and computed tomography confirmed the macroscopic diagnosis. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Mesiodistally directed grooves have been observed on the occlusal surfaces of nine incisors of five females in a small skeletal population from Kovuklukaya (Sinop, northern Anatolia, 10th century AD). There is no archaeological evidence to explain the cultural practices that must have caused such unusual abrasions of the anterior dentition. Investigations of the geographical characteristics of the region and data gathered on the traditional lifestyles of Çulhalı inhabitants enables us to reach meaningful conclusions about the Kovuklukaya people. According to the direction of the grooves, ecological characteristics of the region, and ethnographic data, it is proposed that the unusual abrasion observed in the Kovuklukaya population may be linked to passing yarn between the anterior teeth to wet it. The grooves in the Kovuklukaya population were found only in female skeletons, indicating the existence of a sex-based division of labour in yarn production. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
This short report describes a human skeleton from an archaeological site in England showing signs of treponemal disease. A radiocarbon determination indicates that it is firmly pre-Columbian in date. The implications for recent debates concerning the origin of treponemal disease in Europe are discussed. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
The Upper Palaeolithic skeleton from Vado all'Arancio (Italy), dated to about 11,330 BP, exhibits a severe ankle fracture healed with residual deformation. Following recovery, this young hunter-gatherer continued to walk for an extended period of time, albeit in a mechanically altered manner. While right-left differences in external lower limb bone measurements are relatively low, biomechanical analysis of femur and tibia indicates unusually pronounced asymmetry in all cross-sectional measures of diaphyseal strength. Asymmetry results primarily from normal side endosteal hypertrophy, and not from hypotrophy of the injured limb, suggesting that this individual resumed active life following recovery. This pattern of asymmetry underscores the role of physical activity in maintaining bone mass. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Dislocation of the hip can be consecutive to developmental dysplasia of the hip that is linked to a complex set of genetic and mechanical factors. The purpose of this report is to describe 13 cases of complete dysplastic hip dislocation observed in the skeletal remains of nine women exhumed from an historical gravesite dating from the 5th to 17th centuries in southern France. Despite the size of this palaeopathological series, which is the largest study published to date, findings indicate that the prevalence of hip dislocation in this historical sample was still lower than in some French areas at the beginning of the 20th century. Mitochondrial DNA sequencing demonstrated possible kinship only between two women, i.e. one who died in the period from the 11th to 13th centuries and another who died in the period from the 16th to 17th centuries. It is suggested that the tight swaddling of young infants in France up to the end of the 19th century could have been a predisposing factor for this highly debilitating disorder. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Pigs were raised on six isotopically controlled diets to examine the dietary macronutrients used in the synthesis of bulk bone biochemical components (apatite, collagen and lipids) and individual compounds (bone fatty acids, cholesterol and amino acids from collagen). δ13C values of apatite and bulk bone lipids reflected those of the whole diet, with Δ13Capatite-wholediet = 10.2 ± 1.3‰ and Δ13Cbonelipids-wholediet = −2.4 ± 0.7‰. A wide variation observed in the Δ13Ccollagen-wholediet values (0.5 to 6.1‰) was hypothesized to reflect the relative importance of (i) the direct incorporation of essential amino acids, and (ii) the balance between direct incorporation and de novo synthesis of non-essential amino acids. Linear regression (n = 6) was used to assess the relationship between the δ13C values of whole diet and bulk bone components and individual compounds. Whole diet δ13C values showed a strong correlation with those of bone cholesterol (R2 = 0.81) and non-essential fatty acids (0.97 ≤ R2 ≤ 0.99). Not surprisingly, bone linoleic acid δ13C values correlated well with dietary linoleic acid (R2 = 0.95). Mass balance calculations using the δ13C values of single amino acids accurately predicted the δ13C value of whole collagen. The δ13C values of whole diet were well correlated with those of the non-essential amino acids, alanine (R2 = 0.85) and glutamate (R2 = 0.96) in collagen. The essential amino acids leucine (Δ13Ccollagenleu-dietleu = 0.5 ± 1.2‰) and phenylalanine (Δ13Ccollagenphe-dietphe = −0.6 ± 0.6‰) showed little isotopic fractionation between diet and bone collagen. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
In this study, the skeleton of an approximately 15-year-old child, dating back to the Late Byzantine period (13th century AD) is examined with the aim of determining where this specimen fits in the continuing arguments on the origins of syphilis. It was unearthed during an excavation at an amphitheatre in Nicaea dating to the Roman period. The Nicaea specimen displays common symptoms found in the majority of people with congenital syphilis such as Hutchinson's incisor, mulberry molar, darkened enamel, radial scar on frontal bone, sabre tibia, syphilitic dactylitis, and gummatous and non-gummatous osteomyelitis on almost every post-cranial bone. Because of the sub-periosteal new bone formation, the medullary spaces in some long bones are narrowed or completely obliterated. These lesions, which were observed via macroscopic and radiological examination, reflect the late stages of congenital syphilis. The specimen, when examined together with increasing numbers of other finds from the Old World, contributes to the argument that venereal syphilis did exist in the Old World before 1493, and brings forward the need to revise the Columbian hypothesis, which maintains that syphilis is a new disease carried to the Old World from the New World by Columbus' crew. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
The presence of a bony bridge in the (bridging trait) hypoglossal canal, with five different modes, was investigated in 25 adult male Byzantine (13th century) skulls. First, we re-evaluated the viability of proposed classification schemes, then for the first time, provided information on the structural features of this part of the occipital bone in a population of Asia Minor. Analysis of the data revealed minor differences in the Byzantine population compared to those previously investigated. Diverse geographical sources may be beneficial in understanding the role of developmental and genetic factors in bridging trait. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Osteoporosis is an evocative term for a metabolic disorder characterized by loss of bone mass and organization, which predisposes to fracture. The clinical consequences of osteoporosis lie in the problems associated with it, specifically hip, Colles and vertebral fractures. We present here an extracapsular fracture of the proximal femur in an aged female skeleton from the Santa Clara-a-Velha Monastery (14th–17th centuries) in Coimbra, Portugal. This fracture is probably secondary to an osteoporotic disorder. Bone remodeling at the fracture site confirms that this woman survived for a long period after sustaining a fracture of the proximal femur, suggestive of a solid community assistance and support. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Skeleton PAH/C.02 SG19 E7 in situ.
Osteolytic foci on the left zygomatic bone (8 mm in diameter).
Post-mortem damage of the outer table of the cranial vault. (b) Radiograph showing multiple osteolytic foci with different size and shape without evidence of osteoblastic formation.
Ventral view of the left scapula with two discrete osteolytic foci on the superior border of the glenoid fossa and on the infraglenoid neck. (b) Osteolytic lesion on the supraglenoid fossa of the left scapula. Dorsal view. (c) Radiograph showing an anteroposterior perforation on the ventral side of the left scapula. (d) Superior view of the acromial process showing massive bone destruction followed by osteoblastic activity, with irregular layers of new bone deposition.
Radiograph of ribs showing several osteolytic foci. (b) Dorsal view of a left rib showing severe lytic foci, with osteoblastic response in its contours. (c) Right rib with an incorrectly aligned bone callus resulting from a possible pathological fracture.
Article
During 2002, the extensive archaeological excavations of the ancient Constância necropolis (Centre of Portugal), dated from 14th–19th centuries, resulted in the exhumation of 151 individuals. Among the several paleopathological cases, a middle-aged female skeleton with osteolytic lesions in her skull, axial skeleton, upper limbs and femurs was observed. These pathological findings are characterised by an asymmetric pattern with osteolytic focus of distinct size and irregular shape. Some skeletal elements display both osteolytic and osteoblastic lesions. The latter exhibit deposition of fine layers of woven bone. Lesions were observed macroscopically and radiology was used as a complementary method of scrutiny, especially in cases of unclear observation. The case was diagnosed as that of a probable metastatic carcinoma due to the multifocal distribution of the lesions in areas of intense haematopoietic activity, their morphology and some osteoblastic responses, as well as the presence of pathological fractures in the ribs. The skeleton's sex and age at death are in agreement with the proposed diagnostic, constituting the first case of malignant carcinoma detected in non-identified Portuguese human skeletal remains. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Box plot showing diet-hair fractionation (( d−h ) for herbivores eating high-protein alfalfa diets and low-protein coastal bermudagrass (CBG) diets. Note the consistently higher diet-hair fractionation for animals eating the high-protein alfalfa.
Article
Nitrogen isotope analysis is a common technique for investigating dietary behaviour in modern and archaeological populations. One of its primary uses is to provide trophic level information. This application is possible because of a ∼3‰ enrichment in 15N along each step in the food chain, resulting in carnivores having higher δ15N values than herbivores, which in turn have higher δ15N values than plants. Much variation has also been observed within a trophic level, although the reasons for this are poorly understood. Here we present the results of a controlled feeding study designed to test the effects of gut anatomy and dietary protein levels on hair δ15N values within a trophic level. The data reveal that mammalian herbivores eating identical diets can have hair δ15N values that differ by as much as 3.6‰. This is particularly striking as it suggests that interspecific physiological differences can lead to larger shifts in δ15N values than a shift in trophic level. We also found that diet-hair fractionation was 2.3‰ greater when herbivores were fed high-protein (19%) diets than when they were fed low-protein (9%) diets. The primary nitrogen losses in mammalian herbivores are 15N-depleted urine and 15N-enriched faeces. We reason that an increase in the ratio of urinary to faecal nitrogen efflux leads to greater diet-hair fractionation on the high-protein diet. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
This paper discusses the differential diagnosis of unusual and distinct pathological changes in the skeletal remains of a 40+-year-old female from 15th–20th century Coimbra (Portugal). The most affected area seems to have been the skull, but multiple lesions, lytic and/or blastic, have been found throughout the post-cranial skeleton, more specifically in the scapulae, clavicles, humerus, sternum, ribs, sacrum, innominates and femurs. The differential diagnosis of the lesions gave rise to several possible pathological conditions, namely, Langerhans cell histiocytosis (granulomatosis or Histiocytosis X), multiple myeloma and metastatic carcinoma. Various macroscopic and radiological aspects lead us to consider metastatic carcinoma as the most probable diagnosis. Despite the argumentative identity of the possible primary lesion, age, sex and the mixed nature of the osseous response are consistent with cancer of the breast but do not exclude other carcinomas, namely lung cancer. With temporal and regional differences emerging in the frequency of malignant tumours, the identification of new cases becomes important, particularly from geographic areas where few cases have been reported. In fact, the present report adds to the only case of metastatic carcinoma detected in non-identified Portuguese human skeletal remains until now. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Map of the region showing the location of Loma Alta (Catamarca, Argentina).
Loma Alta site map. The shaded grey zone shows the excavated area. 
Llama second phalanx LA R47 137-16. Norma dorsalis view showing palaeopathologies. 
Article
This paper summarises the results of an osteological analysis of two pathologically afflicted South American camelid second phalanges. These come from the occupation level at Loma Alta archaeological site (Catamarca, Argentina) assigned to the local Formative Period (ca. 500 BC–AD 600). Analyses were performed in order to identify the elements to species level and their degree of pathological affliction. A discussion on the probable origin of these pathologies is given. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
A skeleton from a 16–18th century burial site in Krosno Odrzańskie, Poland, was examined using classical morphological, metric and macroscopic palaeopathological observations, as well as radiography and tomography of the skull and long bones. A wide variety of the observed bone deformations probably occurred as a consequence of past rickets and/or osteomalacia, whose primary cause may also have been chronic renal failure. Preservation of the bones enables a discussion of the cause of such pathological changes. The subject under study appears to be a very interesting example of an individual whose skeleton shows advanced pathological alterations associated with the subject's vitamin D deficiency, overall health conditions and relatively long lifespan. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
The presence of the osseous remains of at least four mules in a garbage dump at the Roman fort of Biriciana near the town of Weißenburg, Upper Bavaria, dating to c. 160 AD, raised the question as to whether mule breeding was already performed to the north of the Alps during the Middle Roman Empire, or whether these animals still had to be imported from the Mediterranean. Serial analyses of the dental enamel and dentine of a lower fourth premolar and the surrounding alveolar bone of a mandible of a mule in terms of stable strontium isotopic ratios of the apatite, and stable carbon and oxygen isotope ratios of the structural carbonate, were carried out to test whether this individual moved long distances during its lifetime. Since isotopic ratios obtained by serial analysis can be correlated with consecutive ontogenetic stages, it can be assumed that this particular individual experienced significant changes in terms of diet and environmental parameters after its eighth year of life. These changes included a period of residence in a region of high altitude, most likely the Alps considering the location of the Roman fort where the mule was found. The isotopic data obtained do not contradict the assumption that this animal was bred and raised in northern Italy, to frequent later in its adult life the Alps and finally perish at Biriciana/Weißenburg. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Apparently-articular facets on the undersurface of the anterior third of the acromion have been known in skeletal material since 1922 but without full discussion of the mechanism responsible. Twelve instances are described here, selected because an impingement area could be demonstrated on the greater tubercle of the humerus or on osteophytes that had replaced it. Both sides were affected but, with two exceptions, the right more severely; the less affected side could be regarded as an earlier stage. All were affected by osteoarthrosis. One was complicated by coraco-humeral impingement.The anatomical mechanism that normally prevents the humerus from rising against the coraco-acromial arch is described as well as the causes of the breakdown in the mechanism that leads to the impingement, derived largely from the clinical field, where the disorder is well-known.The complexity of the relation of the disorder to degenerative arthrosis is discussed because the degeneration is an age change in which wear and tear plays a localized part and the changes as they affect the shoulder joint differ fundamentally from those in the weight-bearing hip-joint. The mean estimated age of the group of twelve was 59 years but the occurrence of the acromion impingement disorder in young athletes illustrates the part played by mechanical joint abuse.Women predominated in this small group, partly because, through their longer life-spans, their joints were exposed longer to the susceptible period of age-related degeneration and also because their less robust musculo-skeletal systems were less adapted than men's to the equally shared labour. Two traditional women's tasks, corn-grinding and tweed-shrinking, are shoulder stressful.
 
Article
On 4 June 1629, the Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) Retourschip Batavia wrecked on Morning Reef in the Houtman Abrolhos, approximately 65 km off the Western Australian coast. The macabre events that followed the wrecking saw more than 100 individuals murdered over a three-month period by mutineers attempting to establish control of the surviving crew and passengers. The mutineers, however, never realised their ultimate objective of hijacking the anticipated rescue ship, and most were instead duly executed in the Abrolhos. Cultural and physical material directly associated with the Batavia mutiny has since been recovered, primarily from Beacon Island, which was the focal area of the mutinous attempts to establish control.Between 1960 and 1964, four individual burials were recovered on Beacon Island; a further six individuals were recovered from a multiple grave that was excavated in stages between 1994 and 2001. The focus of the present study, however, is to briefly describe the skeletal remains of the multiple burial individuals only, including their demographics (sex, age and stature) and descriptions of potential palaeopathology (trauma, nutritional deficiencies and disease). Osteological analyses indicated an unbalanced sex ratio in favour of males; the age at death distribution ranges from about 8 months to no older than 35–49 years. It appears that prior to their untimely demise, the multiple burial individuals were mostly healthy, with relatively little evidence of disease, illness or ante-mortem trauma. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
This paper describes a case of plagiocephaly stemming from a unilateral synostosis of the left squamosal and coronal sutures in a 16th century calvaria from Georgia. Although cases of squamosal involvement in syndromic, multisuture synostotic cases have been found in the archaeological record, isolated squamosal involvement is quite rare. Our literature review found only 15 such cases reported, and this is the first case to be reported from the southeastern United States. Despite the fact that the bevelled nature of the squamosal suture is unique in the human body and that the cause for squamosal involvement remains unclear, to our knowledge there have been no reviews of the nosology and aetiology of synostosis with particular reference to the squamosal suture in the anthropological or clinical literature. Isolated squamosal craniosynostosis may be frequently unreported in clinical settings, and thus case studies on the condition in archaeological contexts may prove valuable for future attempts to identify the frequency and causes of squamosal involvement. This case study also highlights both the potential and challenges of using rare pathological conditions as a tool for positive identification of human remains in historical forensic cases. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Archaeological and zooarchaeological data indicate that camelid pastoralism was a subsistence and economic mainstay of Middle Horizon and more recent cultures in the Osmore region of southern Peru. However, it is not known whether camelids were primarily herded in highland puna pastures or near lower elevation sites in the middle valley or along the coast. This research examines the elevation of archaeological camelid herding in the Osmore Valley using stable isotope analysis. Stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotope ratios were measured on 28 archaeological camelid bone samples from the Middle Horizon sites of Cerro Baúl and Cerro Mejía, the Late Intermediate site of Yaral and the late pre-Hispanic to Colonial period site of Torata Alta. Twenty-three archaeological camelids have δ13C and δ15N values similar to five modern camelids maintained in highland puna pastures. In contrast, three camelids from the high status Wari site of Cerro Baúl, and two from Yaral have unexpectedly high δ13C and/or δ15N values outside the expected range for camelids pastured in highland puna habitats. The results may be explained by differences in foddering practices, altitudinal herding range or climatic conditions. Strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr) were also assessed to infer pasture elevation using the camelid remains from Cerro Baúl (n=11). One individual in this sub-sample exhibits a non-local 87Sr/86Sr value indicative of an origin in the highland puna region east or south of Lake Titicaca. It was not possible to further distinguish between camelids herded in lower to middle elevation habitats outside the Lake Titicaca basin using 87Sr/86Sr values. This study suggests that multiple isotope proxies may be used to identify animals primarily pastured in lowland coastal versus highland puna (>4000masl (meters above sea level)) habitats, but are less useful at distinguishing between animals pastured in lower to middle elevation settings.
 
Article
A separation across the acromion is found in 3–8 per cent of adults and can be fibrous union of a fracture, or non-union of the epiphysis. The only descriptions, based on dissected specimens, derive from the last century and show that the separations are pseudarthroses, or intra-acromial joints, with synovial cavities. Examples occur of double epiphyses with two joints. Eleven skeletalized examples, two bilateral and two through the acromio-clavicular articular facet, are described. The moderately congruent surfaces of separation showed features consistent with pseudarthrosis but gave no indication of any consistent type of movement in the joints. It is concluded that all were probably due to non-union of the epiphysis although, especially as they occurred in a population in which injuries were commonplace, some could have derived from fractures. One specimen showed evidence of derangement of the shoulder joint, with impingement of the greater tuberosity of the humerus against the undersurface of the free part of the acromion producing eburnated attrition facets.
 
Article
This paper describes a case of a mass grave containing three naturally mummified adults with multiple traumas to the skeletal and soft tissues, buried in an isolated and informal grave in one of the valleys that traverses the Atacama Desert, north of Chile. These traumas do not appear to be indicative of post-depositional alterations. Instead, we hypothesise that the observed marks correspond to lethal perimortem trauma, the result of acts of extreme violence brought to bear on the three individuals. Three radiocarbon dates from the site identify that the burial occurred circa 2000 BP in the Azapa Valley, which corresponds to an epoch of important cultural changes linked to the development of farming communities that broke away from an ancient marine hunter–gatherer cultural tradition. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
We report a possible rheumatoid arthritis (RA) case found in a Korean Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910) tomb encapsulated by a lime-soil mixture barrier (LSMB). The tomb is thought to have been constructed during the 1700s AD (1760 AD by carbon dating). In our anthropological examination, joint destruction, erosion or fusion (signs of polyarthritis) were identified mainly in the peripheral skeleton. Especially in both sides of the wrist bones, severe destruction/joint fusion possibly caused by polyarthritis was observed. A similar polyarthritis pattern also was seen in the right foot bones, even though we failed to confirm this symmetry due to the missing left foot bones. Despite these findings, signs suggestive of polyarthritis are very rarely seen in axial bones, even though bony fusions are found in the atlanto-occipital joint or thoracic vertebrae (TV) 9–10. By the osteological signs observed in this case, the individual, a female, might have been suffering from a very late stage of RA and died in her 40s, even though other forms of chronic arthritis could not be ruled out completely. Though the current case could not provide evidence to decisively settle the debates on the antiquity of RA, our report could be a stepping stone for forthcoming studies on RA cases found in East Asian countries. Copyright
 
Article
The subject of this paper is the partial skeleton of an adult female, dating to ad 1420–1640, excavated from the church at the deserted village of Wharram Percy, North Yorkshire, UK. Lesions are described which are probably indicative of hyperparathyroidism. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Chenque I site is a prehistoric cemetery located in Lihué Calel National Park (La Pampa province) in the Western Pampean region of Argentina. Hunter-gatherer societies made use of this site during the Final Late Holocene for at least 700 years (1030–370 BP). Currently 41 burial structures have been excavated, and more than 150 individuals have been recovered. There is great variability in mortuary patterns at the site (simple, multiple, primary, secondary burials, and also a variant not previously observed in the region). The life-ways of this population have been investigated through the evaluation of several biological and cultural factors. Several pathological conditions have also been identified in this cemetery. Burial no. 12 contains a skeleton of an adult male that shows multiple pathological lesions, compatible with a neoplastic disease. These lesions have been analysed using several methodological strategies: macroscopic, radiological and microscopic. This is the first time that this kind of disease has been identified from a prehistoric burial in Argentina. In this paper the location and characteristics of the lesions are evaluated, and the different neoplastic diseases that could have produced them are discussed. Since the people buried in this cemetery belonged to highly mobile societies, a key issue is to infer the consequences that this disease would have had on the dynamics of the group in which this person lived, because of the gradual deterioration of his health and physical strength. Copyright
 
Tooth wear in different age groups (upper and lower dentition combined). 
Prevalence of tooth loss, caries and abscesses related to tooth type and dentition (right and left sides combined)
Rounded notch in occlusion due to habitual pipe smoking (individual no. 2/130, male, 20–25 years). 
Caries rate and antemortem tooth loss in select late Medieval and early modern populations in Europe, together with those of North American 19th century military and Napoleon’s Great Army samples. Only individuals of 16–35 years were selected. 1 Varrela (1991); 2 Kerr et al. (1990); 3 S ˇ laus (2000); 4 Lingstro  ̈ m & Borrman (1999); 5 Moore & Corbett (1975); 6 Whittaker & Molleson (1996); 7 Corbett & Moore (1976); 8,9,10 Sledzik, Sandberg (2002); 11 Present study. 
Article
A mass grave of the soldiers of Napoleon's Great Army, containing no less than 3269 individuals who died during the retreat from Russia in December 1812, was uncovered during an archaeological rescue excavation in 2002 in Vilnius, Lithuania. General dental analysis, including that of dental wear, tooth loss, caries, calculus, and periodontal diseases and abscesses, was used to evaluate the oral health status and possible dietary patterns of individuals who represented recruits from almost all of Western and Central Europe. Growth conditions in childhood were studied by scoring of linear enamel hypoplasia. In all, 293 individuals (6528 teeth) were selected for the analysis; 20–30 year old males made up the majority of the sample. Their general dental status is characteristic of young individuals: low dental attrition and antemortem tooth loss, as well as low prevalence of calculus and abscesses. The caries rate was average compared with late Medieval/early industrial populations and typical for individuals with diverse diets. However, a considerable amount of pulp caries and a high number of carious teeth in some individuals indicate consumption of cariogenic products (e.g. sugar, sweet drinks) and poor oral hygiene. The frequency and severity of hypoplasia was lower compared with other populations of that time, suggesting the selection of the fittest individuals for military service; this correlates with the historically known selection criteria of that period. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
The aim of this paper is to elaborate an ergonomic model based on the study of acquired muscle-skeletal lesions related to Boccherini's intensive activity as Barocco cellist. The body of the famous musician was submitted to external examination, macroscopic analysis and radiographic study. Palaeopathological studies of the skeleton showed a considerable number of changes such as severe rhizoarthritis of the right thumb, heavy epicondylitis of the left elbow, loss of physiological cervical and lumbar spine lordosis and high thoracic left scoliosis with maximum on T3-T4. A case of tibiae valgae was diagnosed at the level of the legs. The acquired muscle-skeletal lesions found seemed to be correlated to Boccherini's cello activity. Direct observation of a present-day cellist allowed us to better understand how repetitive strain injuries were responsible for the situation which appears in the ergonomic model described. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
The case of forearm hypoplasia with anterior displacement of the radius (transverse forearm deficiency, TFD) presented in this article was noted in skeleton no. 72 recovered from one of the crypts of St John's Church in Gdan´sk. The remains are those of a woman who died in the latter half of the 18th century. Hypoplasia affects the right forearm, whilst the other bones of this extremity are atrophied to varying degrees. Similar traits are apparent on the surviving ribs and the sternal manubrium. The very poorly preserved spinal column shows scoliosis and a fused block of three vertebrae (Th3–5). As pointed out by Mann et al. (1992), materials recovered from the excavation provide historical confirmation of the existence of a link between congenital abnormalities affecting the upper extremities and idiopathic scoliosis. They also offer an opportunity to compare these deformities with those brought about by mothers taking thalidomide. A brief outline of the history of palaeoteratology is presented, drawing attention to the small number of cases described in the literature. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
In 1999 the AOC Archaeology Group excavated the cemetery of All Hallows by the Tower, London, UK, prior to redevelopment. The majority of the burials are post-medieval, dating from circa 1776 to 1835. Skeleton (4105) was buried with a lead coffin plate. The data on the coffin plate revealed that the skeleton was that of Ann Sumpter, who died aged 31 years on the 25 May 1794. The skeleton displays pathology that is indicative of a metastatic carcinoma. A precise diagnosis is not possible, but given the individual is female it is statistically most likely the secondaries have originated from a breast or lung tumour. Breast tumours are thought to have been more common than lung tumours in the past, and therefore the most probable diagnosis is a breast carcinoma. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Different lines of archaeological research have been developed in order to increase our knowledge of the history of the hunter-gatherer societies that inhabited the western Pampas of central Argentina, South America, during the Late Holocene. Recently, stable isotope data from human remains have been included. This paper presents the first group of δ13C and δ15N results obtained for this region. On this basis we identify spatial and chronological patterns that may have interesting implications at the levels of spatial organisation and temporal changes. Then, we evaluate the existence of correlations with other lines of archaeological evidence. Finally, we propose an agenda for future work including the generation of a robust regional isotopic ecology that will provide the context for the development of specific dietary reconstructions. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
The West Midlands of England were the cradle of the Industrial Revolution. The 19th century AD skeletal remains from St Martin's Church, Birmingham, West Midlands, provided an important opportunity to assess the health of an urban, working-class population at this key point in British history. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of rickets on growth in this population. Modern clinical data suggest that those with vitamin D deficiency may be retarded in growth, but this has, to our knowledge, yet to be demonstrated in an archaeological population. We investigate the hypothesis that in Birmingham, subadults with rickets showed deficient growth compared with those lacking bony signs of the disease. Age at death was estimated using dental calcification; long-bone lengths were used as measures of endochondral bone growth. Results showed that for subadults aged 2–6 years, bones in those with signs of rickets tended to be short for their ages, and the deficit in bone length was more marked toward the upper end of the 2–6 year age group. Analysis of the data indicated that deficiency in bone length in rickets primarily reflects deficiency of endochondral bone growth, but for the femur, bending deformity was probably an additional factor reducing the overall length in rickets compared with those without the disease. It was previously suggested (Mays et al., 2006) that in this population rickets may have been a recurrent disease, probably on a seasonal (winter) basis. If this is accepted, a reason why older children with rickets show a greater deficit in long-bone growth than younger ones is that they are more likely to have had multiple episodic vitamin D deficiency than younger children who have experienced fewer vitamin D deficient winter seasons. Multiple episodes or prolonged vitamin D deficiency disease may be necessary to cause growth deficit sufficient to be detectable in skeletal samples. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
The analysis of the skeletal remains of Ohalo II man, aged 30–40 years at death and dated to 19 000 years BP, shows advanced and highly unusual ossification of the lower costosternal cartilage; the right humerus is morphologically larger and considerably more robust than the left; degenerative changes were noted unilaterally in the right glenohumeral, acromioclavicular and claviculosternal joints. There is a marked asymmetry of the atlas, axis and occipital condyles. The changes in the costochondral area of the lower anterior rib cage are considered to represent an infectious chronic osteomyelitic process. The marked discrepancy in size between the left and right shoulder girdles and humeri, and the evidence of degenerative disease exclusively on one side only may be the result of a traumatic brachial plexus nerve palsy. The asymmetrical atlas and axis are most probably anatomical variants that do not reflect clinical pathology.
 
Article
The number of computerised tomography (CT) investigations of mummies has increased since the first published study in 1979. However, this approach has never been validated. We present a critical analysis of the literature (1979 to 2005). Relevant articles were selected via a MedLine search and analysed according to CT technique, methodology, and author's speciality. Thirty-one original articles matched our selection criteria. Of these studies, 42% were authored by radiologists, while 26% had no contribution from radiologists. Hypothesis-driven papers comprised only 9.7% of the total. While 84% of the studies had a stated purpose for conducting the CT study, only 67% of studies defined their CT protocol clearly. CT was used to study mummification techniques in 74% of instances, and/or to detect disease in 58%. Conclusions based on CT analysis were derived in 84% of studies, but only 32% of these answered specific questions. Furthermore, only 36% of these conclusions were related to the stated purpose of the study. Using the criteria of the grading system we developed, we found that 61% of studies were supported only by weak evidence. We conclude that evidence-based research with better design should be encouraged in future palaeoradiological studies. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Lead isotope analysis was conducted using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) instruments on local soil samples and human premolar tooth enamel from a 19th century population from Grafton, Illinois, USA. The goal of the study was to determine if lead isotope analysis could be used to infer place of birth and patterns of 19th century migration into the city of Grafton. Five soil core samples from a location near Grafton, Illinois, five grave soil samples from the city cemetery and the tooth enamel of 19 human premolars were analysed. The results of the soil core analysis indicated that the lead isotopic signature of Grafton differs significantly from isotope ratios of other geographic areas associated with recorded places of birth of 19th century Jersey County residents. Elemental and isotope analysis of the soil samples indicated that diagenesis was not a factor in the analysis of lead isotopic signatures of enamel. From the lead isotope analysis of human premolars, the geographic origin of 13 of the remaining 15 individuals could be inferred. The inferred geographic origin was supplemented by an analysis of 1860 mortality and census records and demonstrated the utility of using lead isotope analysis in bio-archaeological investigations. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
The skeletal remains of a child aged 2.5–3.5 years, recovered during archaeological excavations at the churchyard of St Martin's Church, Birmingham, UK, were examined using gross observation, radiography and scanning electron microscopy. Lesions suggestive of the presence of rickets and of secondary hyperparathyroidism were found. This appears to be a first report of secondary hyperparathyroidism in response to rickets in a palaeopathological specimen. The potential of microscopic examination of bone for interpreting disease processes is emphasised. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
A skull from the St Bride's collection showing evidence of gunshot wounds is described. The position of the wounds suggests that they were self-inflicted. Examination of historical records confirms that the individual committed suicide by shooting himself in the mouth. The fact that this individual was buried in the crypt of St Bride's church in 1821 is discussed in relation to early 19th century attitudes to suicide.
 
Article
Dental health may deteriorate in populations exposed to economic growth as a result of easier access to refined carbohydrates and sugars. Such changes affected migrant labourers working in Kimberley, South Africa, during the late 19th century. A rescue excavation salvaged several skeletons from pauper's graves dating from this period, and the purpose of the study was to assess their dental health to determine whether it concurs with historical statements suggesting that the skeletal population sample being investigated was migrant labourers with limited access to a healthy diet. According to historic sources their diets mainly consisted of ground carbohydrates and occasional meat. The permanent dentition of 79 males and 13 females (majority between 20 and 49 years of age) were examined. Carious lesions were observed in 57% of males and 46.2% of females with an average of 2.7 and 3.8 carious teeth per mouth. The anterior teeth were significantly less affected than the posterior teeth. Periodontal granulomata (‘abscesses’) were observed in 17.7% of males and 15.4% of females, and periodontal disease affected 40% of those investigated. Antemortem tooth loss (AMTL) was recorded in 29% (N = 27) of the sample with an average of 3.5 teeth lost per mouth. It was concluded that the prevalence of dental caries, periapical granulomata and periodontal disease as well as the pattern of AMTL observed concurs with dietary descriptions for paupers in historical documents. The relatively low prevalence of carious lesions can be ascribed to the limited time migrant labourers spent in Kimberley and the labour restrictions they had to comply with during their stay in the compounds. Copyright
 
Article
A young adult male, context [825], exhibiting a suite of proliferative and erosive skeletal changes, was excavated from the old burial ground of St Marylebone, London, in 2005 by the Museum of London Archaeology Service (MoLAS). Although pathognomonic rhinomaxillary changes were absent, a number of lesions were of a type previously recorded in individuals suffering from lepromatous leprosy, including resorption of the alveolar process of the maxillae and the digits of the right hand, osteomyelitis in the left ulna and collapse of the left ankle. Whilst this infectious disease was widespread in medieval Britain, it had declined by the 19th century, and has been identified in only one other post-medieval archaeological context. The right leg of [825] had been surgically amputated. This form of intervention was a recognised treatment for the complications of the disease, where neuropathic damage of limbs led to life-threatening infection. The healing of the amputation demonstrates the success of the operation, and the skill of the surgeon. Although the identity of the affected individual is unknown, burial within St Marylebone cemetery implies a level of status not frequently associated with leprosy sufferers in the past. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Living bone sequesters environmental lead (Pb) from both inhalation and ingestion, providing a record of Pb exposure over a lifetime. Questions about the effects of diagenesis and how to remove them have hampered most isotopic and elemental determinations. As a result, researchers often restrict their analyses to tooth enamel, despite its limitations. We report Pb isotopes in teeth and bones in a frontier population of 15 individuals from a late 19th century mental hospital graveyard in Pueblo, Colorado, a town active at that time in the smelting of ores. Analysis of lead isotopes sequestered in healing bone from rib fractures gives an isotopic fingerprint from the last few months of individual's lives. When bone tissues or teeth from different stages of life are analysed, life history trajectories such as migration routes can be developed which are partially self-correcting for diagenesis. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Trauma is the result of violent accidental or therapeutic events that cause physical or psychological injury. The frequencies and types of trauma within a population can give important information regarding their lifestyle as well as the quantity and quality of medical care available to them. The purpose of this study was to assess the incidence of trauma in the Gladstone sample population with regards to the presence of interpersonal violence a hazardous working environment strenuous working requirements and the availability of medical care. The individuals studied here were diamond miners from Kimberley dating to the late 19th century. A total of 107 well-preserved skeletons were excavated from unmarked graves after accidental discovery. This sample included 86 males 15 females and 6 individuals of unknown sex. The majority of individuals (71%) were between 19 and 45 years of age. The remains were most likely those of migrant mine workers of low socioeconomic status who had passed away at the local hospitals. All bones were visually assessed for macroscopic indications of traumatic bone alterations and compared to standard palaeopathological texts and photographs. A total of 27% (n = 28) of the individuals in the sample presented with well-healed healing or perimortem fractures. Fractures to the skull encompassed 49% (n = 20) of all the fractures that were observed. A total of six (6%) amputations were noted. Spondylolysis was observed in 7% (n = 7) of the individuals within the sample and longstanding subluxation was noted in two individuals. The high incidences of cranial fractures within this population are suggestive of high levels of interpersonal violence while long bone fractures spondylolysis and evidence of longstanding subluxations are indicative of the strenuous work requirements and the high-risk environment to which these individuals were exposed. When considering the presence of well-reduced fractures and healed amputations it seems that adequate medical care was available to at least some members of this community. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This article was published online on 17 February 2009. An error was subsequently identified. This notice is included in the online and print versions to indicate that both have been corrected 3 November 2009.
 
Article
While historical documents indicate that complications during pregnancy, labour or soon after birth was a common cause of death in past populations, to date only a few archaeological cases have been reported. Here we present an example, unearthed in a small Portuguese churchyard, of an adult female buried with an infant at her pelvis. The pair appear to have died during labour, as the infant's estimated age at death corresponds to a full term pregnancy, while the distribution of the bones at the adult's pelvic girdle is consistent with birth positioning. The association between the skeletons and their cause of death is analysed, discussed and compared with similar archaeological evidence. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Throughout history, scurvy has been a well-known disease which develops due to restricted resources of fresh fruit and vegetables. The condition results from an extended limited intake of vitamin C. Although skeletal lesions associated with infantile scurvy have been well described by many authors, very little literature is available on adult scurvy and the resulting skeletal lesions. The purpose of this study was to investigate the skeletal remains of a 19th century mining population from Kimberley, South Africa, for any skeletal lesions that may be indicative of adult scurvy. Scurvy was well documented as being extremely prevalent in this population. The skeletal remains of 107 individuals, presumed to have died around 1898, were studied. The majority of these individuals were males between 19 and 45 years of age. It is likely that most individuals were migrant workers at the diamond mines. All bones were visually assessed for macroscopic indications of pathological bone alterations associated with healed scurvy. Bone samples were also taken from ambiguous lesions in order to perform histological investigations. Lesions indicative of possible healed adult scurvy were observed in 16 individuals. These lesions included bilateral ossified haematomas, osteoperiostitic bone changes and periodontal disease. Histological investigation confirmed the presence of ossified haematomas on the anterior tibiae of some individuals. Hospital records and historical documents describing the incidence of scurvy in the local hospitals and the daily diet of the black mine workers supported these findings. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
This paper shows that many food remains excavated from Herculaneum were microbiologically contaminated, and that the Romans probably had continuous exposure to gastrointestinal diseases. However, palaeopathological analysis of skeletal remains from Herculaneum shows a low prevalence of non-specific bone inflammation. Pomegranates and figs, consumed by the population, were mainly dried and invariably contaminated by Streptomyces, a bacterium that produces natural tetracycline, an antibiotic. Histological analysis of the human remains demonstrates fluorescence typical of this substance. The tetracycline-labelled human remains show that the Roman inhabitants of Herculaneum ate food contaminated by Streptomyces, and this may explain the rarity of inflammatory bone diseases at the site due to non-specific infection in the living population. This interpretation fits with therapeutic indications suggested by Roman physicians that preserved fruits were used to cure some inflammatory diseases. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Bibliometric analysis of osteoarchaeology publications covering the period 2001–2007 in leading journals was carried out. The aims were two-fold: firstly, to characterise research in this field in the UK and make comparisons with selected other countries, and secondly, to shed light on the use of skeletal collections. It was found that, since a previous survey of this type,covering the period 1991–1995, isotopic and DNA studies have increased. In the UK, work on biodistance studies is minor compared with other countries, and the proportion of palaeopathology work is high. In palaeopathology, substantial effort continues to be devoted to case studies, particularly in the UK where the frequency of problem-orientated work directed at understanding earlier populations has not increased since the early 1990s. Although it is argued that the case study still has a place in osteoarchaeology, the balance of work needs to shift further in favour of population studies, particularly in the UK. Skeletal collections are vital for primary osteoarchaeological work, and there was little evidence for any great use of skeletal databases such as the Standard Osteological Database. Skeletal collections from the UK were the most used for the research papers analysed, demonstrating the importance of UK-held collections for research that leads to high profile publication in the international scientific literature. These observations are pertinent since legal, ethical and practical issues in the treatment of human remains, particularly those connected with retention of skeletal collections, are now coming under closer scrutiny in the UK. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Summary of numerical age ranges (in years) (n ¼ 51)
Summary of descriptive age categories
Article
This study assesses the current state of adult skeletal age-at-death estimation in biological anthropology through analysis of data published in recent research articles from three major anthropological and archaeological journals (2004–2009). The most commonly used adult ageing methods, age of ‘adulthood’, age ranges and the maximum age reported for ‘mature’ adults were compared. The results showed a wide range of variability in the age at which individuals were determined to be adult (from 14 to 25 years), uneven age ranges, a lack of standardisation in the use of descriptive age categories and the inappropriate application of some ageing methods for the sample being examined. Such discrepancies make comparisons between skeletal samples difficult, while the inappropriate use of some techniques make the resultant age estimations unreliable. At a time when national and even global comparisons of past health are becoming prominent, standardisation in the terminology and age categories used to define adults within each sample is fundamental. It is hoped that this research will prompt discussions in the osteological community (both nationally and internationally) about what defines an ‘adult’, how to standardise the age ranges that we use and how individuals should be assigned to each age category. Skeletal markers have been proposed to help physically identify ‘adult’ individuals. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
This study documents long-term changes in stature from the Mesolithic to the late 20th century in the territory of modern Portugal. Data utilised originated from published sources and from a sample of the Lisbon identified skeletal collection, where long bone lengths were collected. Mean long bone lengths were obtained from 20 population samples and compiled into nine periods. Pooled long bone lengths for each period were then converted to stature estimates. Results show three major trends: (1) a slow increase in stature from prehistory to the Middle Ages; (2) a negative trend from the Middle Ages to the late 19th century; and (3) a very rapid increase in mean stature during the second half of the 20th century. The political and territorial stability of the Kingdom of Portugal may have contributed to the greater heights of the medieval Portuguese, compared with the Roman and Modern periods. The negative secular trend was rooted in poor and unsanitary living conditions and the spread of infectious disease, brought about by increased population growth and urbanisation. Although the end of the Middle Ages coincided with the age of discoveries, the population may not have benefited from the overall prosperity of this period. The 20th century witnessed minor and slow changes in the health status of the Portuguese, but it was not until major improvements in social and economic conditions that were initiated in the 1960s, and further progress in the 1970s, that the Portuguese grew taller than ever before. Since the Middle Ages other European countries have experienced similar oscillations, but showed an earlier recovery in stature after the industrial period. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
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