A model for osteoarchaeological analysis of the graves 1-3 from the Medieval necropolis of Piata Universitatii, Bucharest

The aim of the article:


  1. When did they live?

  2. Who were the three individuals?

  3. What kind of life style did they have?

  4. How did they die?


Archaeological data
The burial was discovered in 2010 in the square 3 BII at the depth of -3.45-3.85 m.
There were three adult skeletons thrown into the pit. The skeleton 1 was lying on the back, with the body upper than legs; the arms were stretch out in lateral; on the left arm there was the feet of skeleton 3; the skull was turn to the right and the legs were bend from the knees; under the left femur there was the skull of the skeleton 2. As inventory it was found a pellet in the neck area. The skeleton 2 was thrown head first, the arms were stretched out in lateral and bend from elbows; the skull was not in anatomical position with the body and a mandible fragment was found under the hip bone after excavation; the legs were bend toward the abdomen, the right one over the left hip bone; an arrow was found under the head. Skeleton 3 laid in an unnatural position from the hip down with the legs stretched, the body with the back over the pelvis and the skull felt on the left side; the arms were stretched out in lateral; from the neck area a bullet was recovered.


Anthropological data
Skeleton 1, male, 40-42 years old; stature of 169.98 cm. Pathology: two teeth with caries, three ante-mortem teeth lost, two abscesses; enamel hypoplasia; osteoarthritis on all the preserved joints; typical lesions for tuberculosis on the ribs, manubrium, vertebrae and hip bones; osteoperiostitis on the femurs, tibiae and fibulae; healed fractures were recorded on the right clavicle, on the left 10th and 11th ribs, on the distal left radius, on the right knee (distal femur, patella, proximal tibia), an exostosis on the left tibia diaphysis; perimortem traumas were identified on the anterior side of the right parietal, a cut with a sharp object on the right parietal and a blunt force trauma on the right parietal and occipital.
Skeleton 2, male, 35-42 years old; stature of 178.04 cm. Pathology: two teeth with caries, one ante-mortem tooth lost, four abscesses; osteoarthritis on all the preserved joints; healed trauma on the left scapula and right patella; perimortem traumas: on the skull anterior side of and mandible there were recorded nine sword strokes (size from 41 to 93 de mm); the second and third cervical vertebrae exhibit traces left by a sharp object which beheaded the individual; fourth cervical vertebra has a blunt force trauma; the sixth right rib shows an oval perforation in the superior side caused by an arrow; the left radius has a perimortem fracture on the distal epiphysis; on the left femur epiphysis, on the lateral condyle, it is visible a trace from a sharp object.
Skeleton 3, male, 26-30 years old; stature of 171.15 cm. Pathology: three teeth with caries, enamel hypoplasia; osteoarthritis on all the preserved joints; perimortem traumas: left parietal with a trace form a sharp object; fourth cervical vertebra shows on the posterior side of the arch a trace from a sharp object; as the previous, the fifth cervical vertebra exhibits on the anterior side of the body the same type of trauma; on the left scapula there are traces from a blunt force trauma.

Authors:MIHAI CONSTANTINESCU, MIHAELA CULEA, ELENA GAVRILA, ANDREI SOFICARU, DRAGOS UNGUREANU
Published: 2013
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