The late mediaeval necropolis of Lăpușna Angela Simalcsik, Ion Ursu, Luminița Bejenaru

Abstract. The osteological material was exhumed in 2013 by archaeologists from the Archaeology Department of the Cultural Heritage Institute of the Academy of Science of Moldova, in the mediaeval necropolis of Lăpuşna (Hânceşti County, Republic of Moldova). Thirty graves were fully or partially researched, the deceased having been buried lying on their backs, with the upper limbs placed on the chest or abdomen. Based on the funerary inventory (which includes six mediaeval coins), the graves were chronologically placed between the XVth and the XVIIth centuries. The cemetery belonged to a local Christian rural community. The preservation status of skeletons is satisfactory. Twenty-two human skeletons (seven males, ten females, and five children) have been analyzed so far. Sex ratio in the osteological sample from Lăpuşna is subunitary, indicating a higher number of female skeletons, comparatively with the male ones.

A quarter of the analysed subjects did not survive after adolescence. The maximum risk of mortality in this sample occurs during early childhood (0–7 years). 32% of deceases appear in the adultus category of age (20–30 years) and 45%, respectively, in the maturus one (30–60 years). Life expectancy at birth is of 30.7 years. For individuals older than 20 years, life expectancy after this age, calculated separately on sexes, was of 16 years in men and of 19 years in women. At cranial level eight nonmetric traits and only two pathologies were identified. Regarding dentition, seven nonmetric traits and six pathologies were reported. At postcranial level, 14 nonmetric traits were distinguished, most of them classified as occupational markers. The most frequent postcranial pathology is osteoarthritis; this disease is present in nine individuals. The subjects affected with osteoarthritis are mature persons. Traces of osteoarthritis appears especially in the spine, hip joint, lower limb (mainly femurs), upper limb (especially radiuses), and clavicle. Primarily, responsible for the degenerative osteoarthritis is the advanced age, followed by mechanical stress and intense and toilsome physical activity. Only one female skeleton showed traces of healed fracture.

Descarcă articolul: Simalcsik, Ursu, Bejenaru 2015

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