Bioarchaeology of the Near East, 12:33-45 (2018)
The case for signs of joint hypermobility
on disarticulated human bones
Department of Earth Sciences, Natural History Museum,
London SW7 5BD, United Kingdom
Abstract: Extended articular surfaces together with supra-condylar imprints at joints are
identified as being extensions of the range of a joint movement in response to specific activity
undertaken from an early age. They enhance and control the range of joint movement.
Rarely, on skeletons recovered from archaeological contexts, an extra-large extended articulation
indicates the limit of an extreme range where two bones of the joint made contact
and arrested the movement of one over another. They are rarely observed even where stress
activities were widely practised. It is suggested that these individuals had a pre-disposing
physique--joint hypermobility. Hypermobility syndromes cannot be diagnosed on disarticulated
skeletal remains since the full extent of joint mobility cannot be assessed, making
standard diagnostic criteria inapplicable. If, however, extra-large extended articulations
and bone imprints can be considered as additional signs of joint hypermobility, that assessments
of joint hypermobility from historical samples may be feasible.
Key words: joint hypermobility syndrome; Neolithic; extended joint articulation;
bone imprint; stop facets
Received 15 June 2018; accepted 14 November 2018; published online 12 December 2018.
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