2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
Italian paleopathologists examined an ancient skull from Croatian Istria, discovered at the end of the 19th century. They found that it belonged to an adult man over 35 years old who died in 2202-1928 BC, that is, in the Early Bronze Age. The cause of death was the development of osteomyelitis, which developed after a blow to the frontal bone with a bronze ax. The article was published in the journal Archaeometry.
Injury studies on bone remains of the Bronze Age population are usually devoted to the study of defects that were found on the skulls. Practically in all Eurasian samples, the presence of sexual dimorphism is noted, that is, injuries are much more often found in men. Many studies show that an increase in the frequency of traumatic injuries on remains is observed in the Middle Bronze Age, including samples from the Dnieper region, South-Eastern Europe, the Southern Urals and the Middle Volga region.
The surge in violence is most likely associated with the deterioration of the environmental situation in the region, as well as the intensification of the struggle for resources. Quite often, the injuries observed were not fatal, as traces of healing are visible. Injuries were often caused by blunt force. However, already in the Late Bronze Age in Europe there is evidence of full-fledged armed battles. So, during excavations on the Tollensee River in Germany, archaeologists discovered a mass grave of soldiers who died during the battle around 1300-1200 BC.
Georgia Vincenti (Giorgia Vincenti) from the University of Florence, together with scientists from Italy, examined an ancient skull, discovered back in 1883 in Croatian Istria. It was assumed that it belongs to the Mesolithic or Neolithic era.
Radiocarbon dating has shown that the person who owned the skull died between 2202 and 1928 BC, that is, during the early Bronze Age. During this period, the first strong fortified settlements were formed in the region, many of which remained inhabited until the late Iron Age. Scientists noted that they know of small burial grounds near these settlements or within them, as well as burial mounds, however, until the late Bronze Age, the caves were not used as burial places.
According to the morphology of the skull, paleopathologists determined that it belonged to a man. Overgrowth of cranial sutures and severe tooth wear indicate that this is an adult, probably over 35, who lost several teeth just before death. On the skull, two lesions were found on the frontal and right parietal bones, which are visible to the naked eye. Computed tomography showed the presence of osteolytic lesions.
Scientists determined that the frontal bone suffered from a strong blow from a melee weapon with a slightly curved blade. Apparently, it was a bronze ax, similar to the finds from Italy and Central Europe of the 20th-19th centuries BC. The presence of neoplasms on the bones and evidence of ongoing inflammation indicate that the person survived immediately after the traumatic brain injury. Damage to the parietal bone was sustained by blunt force and occurred long before death.
Paleopathologists speculate that a trauma to the frontal bone from a blow with a bronze ax caused osteomyelitis. The developed disease can be considered the most likely cause of human death. Scientists believe this skull represents evidence of the spread of violence in the North Adriatic during the Early Bronze Age.
Scientists are increasingly finding evidence of violent outbursts in various ancient cultures. Thus, archaeologists have found that for this reason, women in Central Anatolia in the Early Bronze Age often used weapons in everyday life, and among the ancient inhabitants of Atacama, the increase in aggression caused a shortage of drinking water and fertile land.