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

A Paleopathology Case Study from the Midwestern Archaic


Anthropology, University of Indianapolis

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The Meyer site is a Middle Archaic mortuary from southern Indiana consisting of at least 19 people. Burial 54 is a young adult female with significant pathological conditions located primarily on the skull, although a few aspects of the postcranium are affected. The right mandibular body presents a lytic lesion measuring 39 mm in length; the ramus has thinned, twisted medially, and formed a psuedarthrosis between itself and the body. The anterior alveolar margin leans forward, with the front teeth held in a horizontal position. Osteoblastic activity is present along the margins of the nasal aperture, which is slightly reduced in size. On the maxilla, the anterior alveolar margin is completely reabsorbed, resulting the antemortem loss of all of the incisors. The maxillary sinuses have small patches of reactive boney spicules , as well as micro-lesions that have coalesced. Thoracic vertebrae six through ten have pitting on their anterior bodies and the eighth thoracic vertebra has collapsed resulting in inflammatory scoliosis. The right patella has a depressed lesion with osteophytic activity, as well as osteophytes along the patella's inferior border. A differential diagnosis fails to rule out the following: tuberculosis, a soft-tissue oral tumor, and fungal infections. No single disease adequately explains the degree and forms of skeletal involvement. This case serves as a reminder that examples of significant pathology are not limited to large, agricultural populations.

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