• osteitis deformans;
  • epidemiology;
  • paleopathology;
  • historic;
  • europe


The strong genetic component in the etiology of Paget's disease of bone (PDB), together with marked geographic variation in its prevalence, with high frequencies in British populations, has led some to suggest that the disease originated in Britain and spread around the world in recent times by the migration and admixture of British populations. This study aims to investigate this hypothesis by studying the world geographic distribution of PDB cases identified in ancient skeletons excavated from archaeological sites. The methodology is a review of PDB cases described in the literature. There were 109 cases that met modern diagnostic criteria. All came from Western Europe, 94% from England. These data support the hypothesis that PDB originated in this geographic region. © 2010 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research