Fractures in late medieval skeletal populations from Serbia

Authors

  • Marija P. Djurić,

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Anthropology, Department of Anatomy, Medical Faculty, University of Belgrade,11000 Belgrade, Serbia
    • Laboratory of Anthropology, Department of Anatomy, Medical Faculty, University of Belgrade, 4/2 Dr Subotica, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
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  • Charlotte A. Roberts,

    1. Department of Archaeology, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
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  • Zoran B. Rakočević,

    1. Department of Radiology, Dental School, University of Belgrade, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
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  • Danijela D. Djonić,

    1. Laboratory of Anthropology, Department of Anatomy, Medical Faculty, University of Belgrade,11000 Belgrade, Serbia
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  • Aleksandar R. Lešić

    1. Institutute for Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Medical Faculty,University of Belgrade, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
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Abstract

Bone fractures were analyzed from skeletal remains of 861 adult individuals from six cemeteries dating to the Late Medieval period in Serbia. Results of the study were compared to other cemetery populations (635 individual skeletons) of the same date and region in an attempt to understand fracture patterns. The association of types of fractures and their prevalence with sex, age at death, cemetery site, and information deriving from historical sources are discussed. Results showed that the long bone fracture frequency was 0.7%, and the majority of the fractures were the result of direct force. This rate is similar to some studies of contemporary British skeletal samples. However, it is much lower than for some other Old World sites. Cranial vault fractures had a rate of 6.7%, and of the facial skeleton, 1.3%; the frontal bone was the most affected of bones of the cranial vault. Injuries were more common on the upper extremities (0.8%) compared to the lower (0.6%). However, the fibula was the most fractured bone (2.8%), followed by the ulna (2.4%). This pattern is similar to three of six Late Medieval urban sites in Britain. These findings suggest that this rural community was exposed to a low risk of trauma, probably related mostly to accidents sustained during farming, and rarely to interpersonal violence. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2006. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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