Barbara Veselka

Barbara Veselka
Vrije Universiteit Brussel | VUB · Art Sciences and Archaeology (SKAR)

PhD Human Osteoarchaeology

About

51
Publications
10,162
Reads
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154
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2019 - present
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Analysing cremated remains from the Late Neolithic to the Early Medieval period in Belgium as part of the CRUMBEL project.
October 2013 - December 2018
Leiden University/ LAB foundation
Position
  • Physical anthropologist
Description
  • Excavation and analysis of human remains, inhumations and cremations, on macroscopic, radiological and microscopic level.

Publications

Publications (51)
Article
Full-text available
The human skeleton is influenced by numerous biocultural factors during life. Therefore, bones can be remarkably informative about a person's activities, health, and diet. The context of the grave can provide information on the processes after the death of an individual. In this paper, the collection of Oosterhout (n=24) will be presented. It is si...
Article
Rickets is caused by vitamin D deficiency as a result of limited exposure to sunlight and inadequate diet. In the 19th century, rickets was endemic in most northern European cities. In post-Medieval Netherlands, rickets is documented in low frequencies in a few urban samples, but has not been studied in contemporaneous rural populations. Beemster i...
Article
Full-text available
The high temperatures reached during cremation lead to the destruction of organic matter preventing the use of traditional isotopic methods for dietary reconstructions. Still, strontium isotope (87 Sr/ 86 Sr) and concentration ([Sr]) analyses of cremated human remains offer a novel way to assess changing consumption patterns in past populations tha...
Poster
Full-text available
The application of incremental enamel sampling on human dental enamel allows researchers to observe how isotopic values may vary over an individual’s early life. For archaeologists, this means we can observe how an individual’s diet and geographical mobility may have changed over time. Currently, incremental isotope studies on human enamel primaril...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Subsistence shifts from hunting and gathering to agriculture over the last 12,000 y have impacted human culture, biology, and health. Although past human health cannot be assessed directly, adult stature variation and skeletal indicators of nonspecific stress can serve as proxies for health during growth and development. By integrating...
Article
Full-text available
Present-day people from England and Wales harbour more ancestry derived from Early European Farmers (EEF) than people of the Early Bronze Age¹. To understand this, we generated genome-wide data from 793 individuals, increasing data from the Middle to Late Bronze and Iron Age in Britain by 12-fold, and Western and Central Europe by 3.5-fold. Between...
Article
Studies of funerary practices provide information about many aspects of death in past societies. However, only limited archaeological evidence documents the circumstances under which cremations occurred and the person(s) who were performing the funerary rituals. Lying at the border between Atlantic and Continental cultural traditions, the Scheldt a...
Article
Full-text available
Vitamin D deficiency has hugely impacted the health of past societies. Its identification in skeletal remains provides insights into the daily activities, cultural habits, and the disease load of past populations. However, up till now, this approach remained impossible in cremated bones, because temperatures reached during cremations destroyed all...
Article
Full-text available
Cremation is a complex mortuary practice, involving a number of activities of the living towards the dead before, during, and after the destruction of the bodily soft tissues by fire. The limiting information concerning these behavioral patterns obtained from the pyre remains and/or cremation deposits prevents the reconstruction of the handling of...
Article
The funerary Bronze Age culture in the Belgian part of the Meuse valley is poorly understood due to the challenging nature of cremation deposits that dominate the archaeological record. Only a few sites were analysed in that region, limiting the possibilities to reconstruct the development of Bronze Age populations in Belgium. Due to its good prese...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The CRUMBEL project brings together researchers from three Belgian universities and the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage. The purpose of this collaboration is to study the Belgian archaeological collections of cremated bones dating from the Neolithic till the Merovingian period. Th e project aims to improve knowledge concerning the living cond...
Article
Full-text available
This study aims to better understand the development of group identity, mobility, and health in the Early Medieval Meuse Valley. This is achieved by combining existing demographic and palaeopathological information from 73 cremation deposits from Echt, the Netherlands, with new strontium isotope ratios (⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr) and strontium concentrations ([Sr]...
Preprint
Full-text available
Human culture, biology, and health were shaped dramatically by the onset of agriculture ~12,000 years before present (BP). Subsistence shifts from hunting and gathering to agriculture are hypothesized to have resulted in increased individual fitness and population growth as evidenced by archaeological and population genomic data alongside a simulta...
Article
Objective : By applying a joint medico-historical and paleopathological perspective, this paper aims to improve our understanding of factors influencing past vitamin D deficiency in ten Dutch 17th to 19th-century communities of varying socioeconomic status and settlement type. Materials : Vitamin D deficiency is evaluated in 733 individuals of bot...
Article
Objectives This study aims to increase the rate of correctly sexed calcined individuals from archaeological and forensic contexts. This is achieved by evaluating sexual dimorphism of commonly used and new skeletal elements via uni‐ and multi‐variate metric trait analyses. Materials and methods Twenty‐two skeletal traits were evaluated in 86 indivi...
Article
Analysis of calcined human remains from the Hastape and Fosse del Haye sites in the framework of the CRUMBEL project, New data on the chronology of burials in the northern group of burial mounds in the belgian Ardenne; end first Iron Age, second Iron Age
Article
Studies of funerary practices provide information about many aspects of death in past societies. However, only limited archaeological evidence documents the circumstances under which cremations occurred and the person(s) who were performing the funerary rituals. Lying at the border between Atlantic and Continental cultural traditions, the Scheldt a...
Article
Objectives The Falys–Prangle‐method assesses age‐related morphological changes to the sternal clavicle end (SCE), enabling the observation of mature adults from the 5th decade onwards in unburnt human skeletal remains. The aim of this study is to investigate the applicability of the Falys–Prangle‐method on burnt human remains. Materials and method...
Article
Full-text available
Rationale Strontium isotope analysis can be applied to the calcined human otic capsule in the petrous part (pars petrosa ossis temporalis; PP) to gain information on childhood mobility in archaeological and forensic contexts. However, only a thin layer of the otic capsule, the inner cortex, demonstrates virtually no remodelling. This paper proposes...
Article
Full-text available
The adoption of a new funerary ritual with all its social and cognitive meanings is of great importance to understanding social transformations of past societies. The first known occurrence of cremation in the territory corresponding to modern Belgium dates back to the Mesolithic period. From the end of the Neolithic onward, the practice of cremati...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
L’article suivant est un résumé des résultats préliminaires des crémations étudiées dans le cadre du projet CRUMBEL (Crémations, urnes et mobilité, la dynamique du peuplement de la Belgique - Projet EOS N°30999782) qui seront publiés dans une prochaine monographie dédiée au site de Pommeroeul.
Article
Full-text available
The CRUMBEL project aims to investigate the mobility of the former population in Belgium from the Neolithic period until the Early Middle Ages. To reach these research goals different topics will be studied. In a preliminary phase, the ancient collections of cremated bone will be documented. A selection of these funerary sites will be studied to un...
Chapter
Full-text available
Traditionally, the preferred location for burial was inside the church, but this was often only affordable for the elite. Therefore, individuals of low to middle socioeconomic status were buried in the churchyard. Here too, some locations were preferable over others. The best location was close to the church on the ‘warm’ south side, whereas being...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
If post-cremation life histories of cremains and cremation-related deposits can be readily investigated as they refer to the last handling of the deceased, the treatment of the corpse during the burning act itself is little addressed by textual sources and often discussed in anthropological studies. Among the topics discussed are questions whether...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives This study investigates vitamin D deficiency patterns in individuals from birth to the beginning of adolescence. Microscopic computed tomography (micro‐CT) evaluation of interglobular dentine (IGD) in teeth provides information on the age of disease onset and the number of deficient periods per individual, which will increase our underst...
Article
Rickets and residual rickets are often encountered in Dutch archeological skeletal samples. However, no archeological Dutch paleopathological case of adult osteomalacia has been described in literature to date. This paper describes the first four archeological Dutch paleopathological cases of osteomalacia and assesses the value of the various modal...
Article
The most common cause of vitamin D deficiency is inadequate dermal exposure to sunlight. Residual rickets is nonadult vitamin D deficiency still evident in an adult individual, whereas osteomalacia occurs in adulthood. Previous research on the Beemster population, a 19th century rural community in the Netherlands, identified rickets in 30.4% of the...
Poster
Full-text available
During construction activities near Boksum in the province of Friesland, the Netherlands, a mass grave was discovered. The pit contained at least seven individuals, who were buried on top of each other without a specific burial position or grave goods. Historical sources report a 1586 AD battle near Boksum between the Spanish Royal Army and the Dut...
Article
Full-text available
In 1956 and 1957 prof. A.E. van Giffen, the nestor of Dutch Archaeology, excavated two burial mounds near Oostwoud, on a parcel named ‘Tuithoorn’ in de province of Noord-Holland. These mounds appeared to have been erected in the Late Neolithic between 2500 and 1900 cal BC. They contained at least 12 well preserved skeletons dating to the Late Neoli...
Chapter
Full-text available
In de voorzomer van 2013 werd een deel van de overledenen die rondom de kerk begraven waren, opgegraven. De complete skeletten (N = 60) zijn geanalyseerd. De fysisch antropologische analyse biedt informatie over de individuen, maar ook over de groep als geheel en kan bijdragen aan onze kennis over het leven in de 17e - 18e eeuw in Roosendaal.
Poster
Full-text available
Little is known about the lives and deaths of Bronze Age individuals from the Netherlands. Often soil conditions do not permit preservation of inhumated remains. The West-Frisian clays in the north of the Netherlands enabled the preservation of five human inhumations that were located within a small settlement. Osteoarchaeological analysis of these...
Article
Full-text available
Naar aanleiding van de uitbreiding van de ambachtelijke zone Kluizenmolen in Sint-Gillis-Waas voerde de Archeologische Dienst Waasland (ADW) in 2010-2011 een vlakdekkend archeologisch onderzoek uit op de percelen waarop tijdens het voorafgaande proefsleuvenonderzoek concentraties van archeologische sporen waren vastgesteld (ca. 3 ha). Dit leverde d...
Chapter
Full-text available
Analysis of human remains from 17 grave hills situated in the Batinah coastal region of the Sultanate of Oman.
Conference Paper
Cremating the deceased became the norm in the Netherlands during the Bronze Age. After burning the body, the remains were collected and buried. The weight of a cremation provides information on the completeness of an individual, and enhances our knowledge of past burial rituals. This paper aims to demonstrate the significance of weight in reconstru...
Conference Paper
Being buried in the St. John's church in the city of Gouda, The Netherlands, was a privilege of the elite and the rich. Several family crypts, dating to the 18th century, with large tombstones marked the floor of the coir loft containing deceased mayors, and regents. Individuals of lesser socioeconomic status, such as headmasters, and skilled worke...
Conference Paper
Vitamin D is needed for various processes in our body, such as stimulating the immune system, and mineralization of the skeleton. Acquiring vitamin D seems fairly simple. Under the influence of UVB radiation in sunlight, vitamin D is dermally synthesized and provides us with enough vitamin D to maintain the delicate balance needed for a relative he...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The most common cause of vitamin D deficiency is inadequate sunlight-based dermal synthesis. In subadults this conditions is called rickets, in adults osteomalacia. In Beemster, a post-Medieval rural community in the Netherlands, rickets was present in 30.4% of the subadults under the age of four years (n=71). This research explores vitamin D defic...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
The CRUMBEL project studies the collections of cremated bone found in Belgium dating from the Neolithic to the Early-Medieval period using state of the art analytical and geochemical analyses. Recording the Belgian collections in a database including as much osteoarchaeological information represents a crucial part of this project. Until now the dominance of cremation as funeral practice between 3000 BC and 700 AD in Northern Europe led to limited information on migrations and living conditions. CRUMBEL will greatly improve our current understanding of how people lived in Belgium. https://www.crumbel.org/