Bioarchaeology of the Near East, 10:47-68 (2016)

Multiple trauma in a horse rider from the Late Iron Age cemetery at Shirakavan, Armenia

Anahit Khudaverdyan* (1), Hamazasp Khachatryan (2), Larisa Eganyan (2)

(1) Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography,
National Academy of Science, Republic of Armenia,
Yerevan, 0025, Charents st. 15, Armenia
e-mail:, (corresponding author)
(2) Shirak Centre of Armenian Studies,
National Academy of Sciences, Republic of Armenia,
Gyumri, 3114, Myasnikyan st. 118, Armenia

Abstract: During recent excavations at a Late Iron Age cemetery in Shirakavan, Armenia, a fairly complete skeleton of a male individual buried together with a horse was found. Several bones exhibited signs of healed trauma, including a small blunt force lesion on the frontal bone, broken nose, fractured clavicle and two ribs as well as traumatic synostosis of tibia and fibula. There was also quite evident degenerative joint disease in the cervical and lumbar vertebrae as well as peculiar morphology of the proximal femora suggesting high load to this part of the body. This observed pattern of lesions suggests an active life and may be the consequence of habitual horse riding.

Key words: trauma; degenerative joint disease; tibia-fibula exostosis; scoliosis; horse riding; Urartu kingdom

Received 29 November 2015; accepted 4 May 2016; published online 1 June 2016.

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