• congenital diseases;
  • shortened fourth metatarsal bone;
  • Sardinia;
  • Middle Ages


Archaeological excavations carried out in the Medieval village of Geridu (Sardinia) uncovered several burials dating to the late 13th or the first half of 14th century. Among these individuals, the skeleton of an adult female showing a bilateral abnormal shortness of the fourth metatarsal bone was identified. Bilaterality and absence of other skeletal anomalies allow to rule out an acquired aetiology of the disease and to support a diagnosis of congenital brachymetatarsia. Such a rare deformity has a clinical incidence of 0.02% to 0.05%, with strong predominance of the female gender. To our knowledge, no other cases of brachymetatarsia have been reported in paleopathology so far. Anat Rec, 297:650–652, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.