Demography and pathology of the medieval population from Stenjevec

Demography and pathology of the medieval population from Stenjevec

Šlaus, M.

Opvscvla Archaeologica Papers of the Department of Archaeology, Vol.26 No.1 October 2002.
Human skeletal remains from 84 individuals from the medieval (10th-12th century) Stenjevec cemetery in continental Croatia are described. Paleodemographic analysis shows high subadult mortality despite clear underrepresentation in the youngest age category, and peak adult mortality rates between the ages of 21-35 years for females, and 31-45 years for males. Subadult stress, as evidenced by the presence of linear enamel hypoplasia and cribra orbitalia is high in the series. Enamel hypolasia is present in 88.0% of analyzed subadult teeth, and in 51.7% of analyzed adult teeth. Cribra orbitalia is recorded in 70.0% of subadult, and 30.8% of adult crania. Skeletal evidence of infectious disease is also common in the series, as is evidence for trauma. Sex differences in frequencies of carious lesions, osteoarthritis, and Schmorl’s lesions suggest differential male/female dietary practices or differences in resource access, and differential activity patterns. Comparison with late antique and early medieval skeletal series from continental Croatia show differences in frequencies of cribra orbitalia, infectious disease and trauma that indicate higher stress in the developed medieval period. Multivariate craniometric analyses ([laus, 2000) show that this coincides with a northward expansion of early medieval Croat populations from the eastern coast of the Adriatic into modern Bosnia and Herzegovina and continental Croatia. Data collected from the Stenjevec series suggests that this expansion led to a deterioration of living conditions during the developed medieval period. Continued research of skeletal series from continental Croatia is necessary to see if data from these collections confirm this correlation.

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