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Troía's Three Roman Ladies: The Analysis of Three Cases of Trepanation at Necrópolis de Calderia (Setúbal, Portugal)

Author(s): Emily Elizabeth Graff

Year: 2016

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The Necrópolis de Calderia contains nearly two-hundred burials spanning from the first through fifth centuries A.D. The cemetery is located on the western edge of the ancient Roman site of Troía, which is considered the largest fish salting, garum production and distribution center in the Roman world. Among the inhumations three cases of trepanation have been identified. The three individuals are adult women. Trepanation, also known as trephination or craniectomy, is the surgical practice in which a portion(s) of the cranial vault is permanently removed from the skull of a living individual. This form of medical intervention was often used to treat headaches, cranial trauma, and neurological disorders such as epilepsy according to several ancient sources. Trepanation also has been associated with ritual and magical practices, however the cultural and social purposes of trepanation are difficult to archaeologically discern. The three individuals appear to have not only survived the procedure but also endured multiple episodes of trepanation. This paper discusses the analysis of Calderia’s trepanned individuals and medical practices of the Western Roman Empire.

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Troía's Three Roman Ladies: The Analysis of Three Cases of Trepanation at Necrópolis de Calderia (Setúbal, Portugal). Emily Elizabeth Graff. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405247)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America