Paleopathology in Roman Imperial Age

Simona Minozzi, Paola Catalano, Stefania Di Giannantonio, Gino Fornaciari


The increasing attention of archaeological and anthropological research towards palaepathological studies has allowed to focus the examination of many skeletal samples on this aspect and to evaluate the presence of many diseases afflicting ancient populations. This paper describes the most interesting diseases observed in skeletal samples from some necropoles found in urban and suburban areas of Rome during archaeological excavations in the last decades, and dating back to the Imperial Age. The diseases observed were grouped into the following categories: articular diseases, traumas, infections, metabolic or nutritional diseases, congenital diseases and tumours, and some examples are reported for each group. 

Although extensive epidemiological investigation in ancient skeletal records is impossible, the palaeopathological study allowed to highlight the spread of numerous illnesses, many of which can be related to the life and health conditions of the Roman population.

Key words: Palaeopathology - Roman Imperial Age - Bone diseases 

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