Get access

A possible case of Scheuermann's disease from Akarçay Höyük, Birecik (Şanlıurfa, Turkey)


  • The results of this work were presented in part at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Paleopathology Association in Anchorage, Alaska, 2006.


During excavations in Akarçay Höyük, located in Birecik (Şanlıurfa, Turkey), a human and a horse skeleton were found together as a co-burial. This burial was in an Islamic cemetery dated to 13th–14th century AD. The human skeleton was that of a young adult female with a distinct thoracic kyphosis. Three adjacent thoracic vertebral bodies, T4, T5 and T6, were wedge shaped and this wedging was also apparent in radiographs. There were Schmorl's nodes and anterior extensions on the same vertebral bodies. All these vertebral changes are typical signs of Scheuermann's disease (SD). Since she was buried with a horse, it is likely that she was a horse rider. Although she was young, the skeletal changes associated with horse riding like elongated acetabula and enthesopathies on the femora were evident. There was a compression fracture on T12, and irregularities on the upper and lower vertebral body rims due to traumatic anterior disc herniation. It is postulated that a trauma due to horse riding is responsible for the occurrence of SD in this case. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Get access to the full text of this article