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Artificial cranial modification on a female skeleton from the Byzantine site of Maroneia (Thrace, Greece)

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Abstract

Artificial cranial modification is one of the most often documented types of intentional intervention on the human skeleton in the anthropological record. A female cranium exhibiting headshaping recently came to light at the Early Byzantine site of Maroneia, in Thrace, northern Greece. Headshaping was practiced by several different population groups during the migration period (1st–9th c. AD), but was unknown in Byzantine customs. Homogeneity in burial customs, evidenced by the skeleton's position and orientation and by cemetery topography, strongly supports the hypothesis that this burial belonged to a Christianised citizen who had the right to be buried in a common Christian cemetery. Headshaping provides strong evidence for the cultural adaptability and complexity of Early Byzantine society at Maroneia, an important provincial urban centre of the Byzantine Empire. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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