Differential diagnosis of a calcified object from a 4th–5th century AD burial in Aqaba, Jordan



In 1997 a calcified object was recovered from the pelvic region of an adult male excavated from an ancient cemetery in Aqaba, Jordan. The cemetery (n = 48) dates to the middle 4th to early 5th century AD and is associated with the Byzantine-period marine trading centre of Aila located on the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea. The oblong calcification consisted of linearly aligned tubules within a thin shell. Twenty-eight conditions potentially resulting in calcification within the pelvic region were considered. Of these, five were retained as possible diagnoses due to the object's location and size and the presence of a thin shell and fully calcified tubules. In the end, the object appears to be a calcified, but unidentified, parasite. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.