Bioarchaeology of the Near East, 4:1-23 (2010)

Palaeopathology of human remains from Vardbakh and the Black Fortress I, Armenia

Anahit Khudaverdyan

Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography,
National Academy of Science, Republic of Armenia,
Yerevan, 0025, Charents st.15

Abstract: This paper reviews selected diseases in the Vardbakh and the Black Fortress I skeletal samples from Armenia (1st century BC - 3rd century AD). Forty-two skeletons from these two cemeteries were analysed macroscopically for pathological conditions such as traumatic injuries, congenital anomalies, joint diseases, and dental pathology. Trauma to the skull was common, which suggests a high level of inter-personal violence. Individuals from Black Fortress I were somewhat less prone to the development of osteoarthritis of the long bones than the people buried in the Vardbakh cemetery. There was less evidence of excessive dental wear in Black Fortress I although dental abscesses and antemortem tooth loss were more prevalent. Periodontal disease and antemortem tooth loss of the molars were more common in Vardbakh. There is evidence from Vardbakh suggesting that teeth were used in non-masticatory activities. Single cases of plagiocephaly and artificial cranial modification were also noted.

Key words: cranial trauma, dental pathology, degenerative joint disease, plagiocephaly, artificial cranial modification

Received 25 January 2011; accepted 24 July 2011; published online 25 August 2011.

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