What is it about?
A lower-back trait is observed in 16% of the skeletal remains from two warships. Clinical and archaeological studies provide rates from 1 to 40%. We test our findings to see they are explained by the age at death of crew members.
Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash
Why is it important?
Fusion between the lowest lumbar vertebra and the sacrum is a genetic trait and is more prevalent in certain populations. Reported rates for this naturally occurring anomaly are very low for archaeological skeletons, and much higher for living individuals, where this can be recorded in up to 40% of lower-back-pain sufferers. Clinical studies consider almost every form of this trait as “sacralized”, possibly due to limited visibility on x-rays, as compared to dry bone, where fully fused elements are more easily counted. Yet some archaeological reports also blur the different forms. If findings are not comparable, we may miss population affinity.
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This page is a summary of: Sacralization in the
assemblages: An inconsistently recorded anomaly, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, April 2021, Wiley,
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