Paleopathology of the Copper Age Mummy from the Val Senales Glacier

Renato Mariani Costantini, Luigi Capasso, Arnaldo Capelli, Luigi Frati

Abstract


The unique conditions of preservation of the Copper age mummy found in the Val Senales glacier permit to analyze the general state of health of a man of the late European prehistory. Investigations conducted within the organizational framework of an International Research Project revealed the presence of a series of alterations, that, in broad sense, can be considered of paleopathological interest. These can be classified as: 1) post mortem lesion, including scalp eorsion, alopecia, soft tissue loss in the right gluteal region, right coxo-femoral disarticulation, right sacro-iliac dislocation; 2) lesions that occurred intra vitam, including tattoings, dental wear, trichorrexis nodosa, nail hypoplasia, moderateosteoarthrosis of the lumbar vertebral column and of the coxo-femoral joints, tibio-tarsal osteosclerosis. The paleopathological analysis of this unique mummy sheds vivid light on the mutual interactions between disease, environment, and culture, that shaped human life in a distant past. 

 

Key words: Mummy - Copper Age - Paleopathology - Tattooings 


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