Health and Mortuary Treatment in Early Bronze Age Transylvania


Copper and gold resources from Southwestern Transylvania played a critical role in the emergence of inequality in European Late Prehistory. Communities in this metal-rich landscape, however, remain poorly understood. Though the highly visible tombs in the Apuseni Mountains where these communities buried some of their dead have been known to local archaeologists for decades, very little is known about the backdrop of health and disease in the region. Here, we present one of the first bioarchaeological analyses of skeletal and dental health for the Apuseni Early Bronze Age, focusing on a sample of human remains that incorporates individuals of both sexes and a range of ages, from very young children to older adults. Our results show relatively low levels of skeletal pathology, with age-related insults such as osteoarthritis predominating. In contrast, dental insults were more common and included caries, calculus, alveolar resorption, and abscesses. We present several case-studies of older individuals affected with particularly severe combinations of dental insults, and discuss the dietary and behavioral implications of handling such pathologies, at both the level of the individual and the community.

Cite this Record

Health and Mortuary Treatment in Early Bronze Age Transylvania. Emilie Cobb, Jess Beck, Colin Quinn, Horia Ciugudean. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443493)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: 19.336; min lat: 41.509 ; max long: 53.086; max lat: 70.259 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21439