Bioarchaeology of the Near East, 7:33-46 (2013)

A preliminary analysis of Late Bronze Age human skeletal remains from Gonur-depe, Turkmenistan

Vladimir Kufterin (1), Nadezhda Dubova* (2)

(1) Bashkir State Pedagogical University,
October revolution str. 3a, Ufa, 450000, Russian Federation
(2) Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Science,
Leninski pr. 32a, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation
email: (corresponding author)

Abstract: The results of a palaeopathological investigation of human skeletal remains from the excavations of one of the largest Bactria-Margiana archaeological complex (BMAC) sites Gonur-depe (3rd–2nd mill. BC, southeast Turkmenistan) are discussed. Inhumation burials from Gonur-depe derive from a large necropolis (mainly dated to 2300–1800 BC) which was completely excavated and a sample of later burials placed in ruins of the palacetemple complex (mainly burials of the middle of the 2nd mill. BC). Preliminary results of the analysis of 920 individuals (582 subadults, 142 males, 196 females) from the latter sample are discussed here. The frequency of some dental pathologies (e.g., abscesses and AMTL) is relatively low (compared to similar data from the Gonur necropolis). This fact can be connected with some dietary change in the later Gonur population. A high percentage of cribra orbitalia in the children’s subgroup suggests some negative biosocial factors (in conjunction with an increase in childhood mortality in comparison with the sample from the necropolis). Trauma, with the exception of a few cases, was most likely of accidental origin. However, cranial trauma was more often present in males. The prevalence of various joint diseases that are more often observed in agricultural populations is relatively high.

Key words: adaptation; palaeoecology; dental disease; cribra orbitalia; trauma; joint disease; infectious disease; Central Asia

Received 14 September 2012; accepted 11 May 2013; published online 18 May 2013.

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