Advertisement

Unusual osteological findings in sacred relics from the LESJE monastery in central Serbia

  • Danijela Djonic
  • Roger W. Byard
Lessons from the Museum

Abstract

An adult male skeleton was submitted to the Department of Anatomy at the University of Belgrade for evaluation. It was believed to represent the remains of a second to third century Christian saint from the Lesje Monastery in central Serbia. Examination of the remains revealed an old crush fracture of a thoracic vertebra and an unusual, probably congenital, malformation of the atlanto-occipital joint with deformation of the left occipital condyle and resultant narrowing of the foramen magnum. Although the occipital malformations were most likely congenital, they may still have caused, or contributed to, death by compression of the underlying upper cervical spinal cord.

Keywords

Foramen magnum Narrowing Death Skeleton Saint Lesje monastery 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by grants from the Global Fund, Ministry of Health of Serbia, and Ministry of Science of Serbia (grant no III45005).

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

Permission for the examination was given by the official custodians of the remains at the Lesje Monastery, Serbia.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

References

  1. 1.
  2. 2.
    Trotter M, Gleser G. A re-evaluation of estimation of stature based on measurements of stature taken during life and long-bones after death. Am J Phys Anthropol. 1958;16:79–123.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pearson K. Mathematical contribution to the theory of evolution. – V. On the reconstruction of the stature of prehistoric races. Philos Trans R Soc Lond Ser A. 1988;192:169–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Işcan MY, editor. Age markers in the human skeleton. Springfield: Charles C Thomas; 1989.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Brooks S, Suchey J. Skeletal age determination based on the os pubis: a comparison of the Asca′di-Nemeske′ri and Suchey–Brooks methods. J Hum Evol. 1990;5:227–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Buikstra J, Uberlaker D, editors. Standards for data collection from human skeletal remains. Fayetteville: Arkansas Archaeological Survey; 1994.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Appleby J, Rutty GN, Hainsworth SV, et al. Perimortem trauma in King Richard III: a skeletal analysis. Lancet. 2015;385:253–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Byard RW, Maxwell-Stewart H. Scurvy – characteristic features and forensic issues. Am J Forensic Med Pathol.  https://doi.org/10.1097/PAF.0000000000000442.
  9. 9.
    Armelagos GJ, Sirak K, Wekema T, Turner BL. Analysis of nutritional disease in prehistory: the search for scurvy in antiquity and today. Int J Paleopathol. 2014;5:9–17.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Brickley M, Ives R. Skeletal manifestations of scurvy. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2006;129:163–72.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Geber J, Murphy E. Scurvy in the Great Irish Famine: evidence of vitamin C deficiency from a mid-19th century skeletal population. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2012;148:512–24.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Crist TA, Sorg MH. Adult scurvy in New France: Samuel de Champlain’s “mal de la terre” at Saint Croix Island, 1604-1605. Int J Paleopathol. 2014;5:95–105.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Byard RW. Bone lesions in yaws – another potential marker of indigenous Australian remains. Forensic Sci Med Pathol. 2017;13:522–4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Sonnesen L, Nolting D, Kjær KW, Kjær I. Association between the development of the body axis and the craniofacial skeleton studied by immunohistochemical analyses using collagen II, Pax9, Pax1, and noggin antibodies. Spine. 2008;33:1622–6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Das S, Chaudhuri JD. Anatomico-radiological study of asymmetrical articular facets on occipital condyles and its clinical implications. Kathmandu Univ Med J. 2008;22:217–9.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Byard RW. Forensic issues in Down syndrome fatalities. J Forensic Legal Med. 2007;14:475–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Byard RW. Miscellaneous conditions. In: Byard RW, editor. Sudden death in the young. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2010. p. 491–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hunter AGW. Down syndrome. In: Cassidy SB, Allanson JE, editors. Management of genetic syndromes. New York: Wiley-Liss; 2001. p. 103–29.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Sanchez P, Graham JM. Congenital anomalies of the skull. In: Swaiman KF, Ashwal S, Ferriero DM, et al., editors. Swaiman’s pediatric neurology. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 2017. p. 233–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Pang D, Thompson DNP. Embryology and bony malformations of the craniocervical junction. Childs Nerv Syst. 2011;27:523–64.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Peyton WT, Peterson HO. Congenital deformities in the region of the foramen magnum: basilar impression. Radiology. 1942;38:131–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Anthropology, Institute of Anatomy, School of MedicineUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  2. 2.School of MedicineThe University of Adelaide, and Forensic Science South Australia (FSSA)AdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations