The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Foot for thought? Contextualization of os tibiale externum from two Roman period mass graves at Oymaağaç Höyük, Turkey


1Wiener Laboratory, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2Department of Anthropology, Ohio State University

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The most common foot ossicle is an accessory navicular bone known as os tibiale externum (OTE). Today radiographic estimates for OTE incidence range from 4-21%, with ~5% reported for Turkey. At the archaeological site of Oymaağaç Höyük, Turkey, 5/33 (15%) adults from two mass graves, dating to the Roman period (3rd century AD), present evidence of OTE. Its frequency from one of the graves (#7384) is 29%. In the other (#7484), 1 of 19 (5%) individuals shows the condition. Among those with OTE, at least one displays bilateral expression. Only adults presented the condition, with the sex ratio presently unknown. Given that OTE is congenital, we hypothesize that individuals from grave #7384 were genetically related. Although the sample size is small, this high frequency of OTE suggests that at least four family members were buried together in a Roman period mass grave from Turkey.

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