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Novacek, Jan; Scheelen-Novacek, Kristina; Hepa, Mariola; Schultz, Michael; Pilgrim, Cornelius von; Müller, Wolfgang (2019): ROMAN AND LATE ANTIQUE BURIALS FROM THE OLD TOWN OF ASWAN (EGYPT). In: Anthropologie-International Journal of Human Diversity and Evolution, Vol. 57, No. 1: pp. 3-51
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Abstract

The southern Egyptian city of Aswan is located directly north of the first cataract of the Nile which since Pharaonic time represented the border of the empire. During archaeological rescue excavations, tombs and burials from the Roman and Late Antique period were discovered in different areas of the modern city centre. The state of preservation and documentation of these structures allows establishment of a new typology and chronology of the burial architecture of Late Antique southern Egypt. The anthropological investigation identified 30 individuals, approximately half of them subadult. On average, adult individuals had died at an age of 36 years. Male individuals had an average stature of 164 cm, female individuals of 151 - 152 cm. The skeletal remains offive individuals, all subadults, showed probable vestiges of scurvy. Anaemia was suspected in ten individuals, both children and females. The diagnosis of a severe otitis media seems possible in nine individuals, five subadults and four adults. Nine individuals, four subadults and five adults, showed vestiges of a chronic sinusitis. Additionally, all the subadults demonstrating vestiges of a severe otitis media either showed typical bone changes induced by scurvy or by anaemia. Vestiges of a possibly healed pleurisy were found in three individuals. Dental pathologies were not very common in this population, only 13 teeth displayed carious lesions. Periapical processes were found in 10 cases. Furthermore, gingival pockets, ante-mortem tooth loss, dental calculus and periodontal disease were observed. Osteoarthritis was common among the adults, as well as various injuries, mostly fractures. One interesting diagnosis is a metastasising neoplasm, possibly breast cancer, in the skeleton of an elderly female, which had produced osteoplastic-osteoclastic metastases in the ribs and vertebrae.