• atlas occipitalization;
  • atlanto-occipital fusion;
  • congenital;
  • Apollonia Pontica;
  • Bulgaria


Occipitalization of the atlas was observed in two adult female skeletons from the Greek colonial site of Apollonia Pontica (5th to 3rd centuries BC), located on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Representing a rare congenital anomaly of the atlanto-occipital junction, this condition has been documented in very few skeletal remains from Classical antiquity. Postmortem damage to one of the specimens prevented an evaluation of its clinical significance. The dimensions of the second specimen, however, suggest that the affected individual may have experienced some neurological symptoms associated with her condition. The burial of the two females in close proximity to one another raises the possibility that they may have been biologically related. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.