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Childhood health in Copper Age. An example from Potočani, northern Croatia / Novak, Mario ; Janković, Ivor ; Balen, Jacqueline ; Potrebica, Hrvoje.

By: Novak, Mario.
Contributor(s): Janković, Ivor [aut] | Balen, Jacqueline [aut] | Potrebica, Hrvoje [aut].
Material type: ArticleArticleDescription: str.Other title: Childhood health in Copper Age. An example from Potočani, northern Croatia [Naslov na engleskom:].Subject(s): 6.07 | Potočani ; subadults ; mass burial ; prehistory In: International Symposium on Funerary Anthropology, 2017Summary: In this paper, we present an insight into childhood health in a skeletal sample recovered from a Copper Age mass burial located in Potočani near Požega in northern Croatia. The pit containing multiple skeletons was accidentally discovered during the field survey of the Požega Valley in 2007. Cultural remains found in the pit included broken pottery fragments of the Lasinja Copper Age culture while three bone samples from different layers were dated by radiocarbon to around 4100 years cal BCE. Human remains were mostly articulated but the individual skeletons became partially commingled due to the haphazard placement of bodies at interment as well as by post-depositional processes. Probably the most striking characteristic of this assemblage is the presence of various peri-mortem injuries observed in at least 13 crania, including those of children. The minimum number of individuals, based on the number of frontal bones, is 41, and all age groups of both sexes are present. The youngest subadult individual is about two years old and the oldest is between 17 and 18 years old. Subadults represent over one half of the total sample (21/41). The occurrence of various pathological changes such as ectocranial porosity, cribra orbitalia, linear enamel hypoplasia, and scurvy suggests that most of the studied children experienced severe episodes of physiological stress during early childhood. Additionally, the presence of ante- and peri-mortem injuries in several subadult skeletons indicates they were subjected to an episode of intentional violence that ended in their premature death. It seems that the children from Potočani suffered from poor health characterized by high frequencies of subadult stress indicators but also exposure to interpersonal violence.
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In this paper, we present an insight into childhood health in a skeletal sample recovered from a Copper Age mass burial located in Potočani near Požega in northern Croatia. The pit containing multiple skeletons was accidentally discovered during the field survey of the Požega Valley in 2007. Cultural remains found in the pit included broken pottery fragments of the Lasinja Copper Age culture while three bone samples from different layers were dated by radiocarbon to around 4100 years cal BCE. Human remains were mostly articulated but the individual skeletons became partially commingled due to the haphazard placement of bodies at interment as well as by post-depositional processes. Probably the most striking characteristic of this assemblage is the presence of various peri-mortem injuries observed in at least 13 crania, including those of children. The minimum number of individuals, based on the number of frontal bones, is 41, and all age groups of both sexes are present. The youngest subadult individual is about two years old and the oldest is between 17 and 18 years old. Subadults represent over one half of the total sample (21/41). The occurrence of various pathological changes such as ectocranial porosity, cribra orbitalia, linear enamel hypoplasia, and scurvy suggests that most of the studied children experienced severe episodes of physiological stress during early childhood. Additionally, the presence of ante- and peri-mortem injuries in several subadult skeletons indicates they were subjected to an episode of intentional violence that ended in their premature death. It seems that the children from Potočani suffered from poor health characterized by high frequencies of subadult stress indicators but also exposure to interpersonal violence.

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