Sinusitis in People Living in the Medieval Ages

  • Iwona TeulEmail author
  • Jacek Lorkowski
  • Wieslaw Lorkiewicz
  • Dariusz Nowakowski
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 788)


Breathing vitally serves body homeostasis. The prevalence of upper airway infections is often taken as an indicator of overall health status of a population living at a given time. In the present study we examined the unearthed remains of skulls from the XIII-XV century inhabitants searching for signs of maxillary sinusitis. Maxillary sinuses of the skulls of 92 individuals were inspected macroscopically and, if necessary, endoscopically. Osseous changes, including the pitting and abnormal spicule formation were present in 69 cases (75.0 %). It was found that, overall, dental infection was a major cause of maxillary sinusitis (18.8 %). Severe bone changes were observed in the adults’ skulls, but were also present in the sinus walls of children’s skulls. Post-inflammatory changes were manifest as remodeling and damage to the sinus walls. The results indicate that both children and adults of the Middle Ages suffered from chronic sinusitis. These observations confirm that the climate, environment, and lifestyle of the medieval populations contributed to the morbidity of the upper respiratory tract.


Allergization Endoscopy Maxillary sinus Medieval population Mucositis Sinusitis Skull 


Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest in relation to this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iwona Teul
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jacek Lorkowski
    • 2
    • 3
  • Wieslaw Lorkiewicz
    • 4
  • Dariusz Nowakowski
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of General and Clinical AnatomyPomeranian Medical UniversitySzczecinPoland
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedic and TraumatologyCentral Clinical Hospital of Ministry of InteriorWarsawPoland
  3. 3.Department of Disaster Medicine, Chair of Anesthesiology and Intensive CareJagiellonian University Medical CollegeCracowPoland
  4. 4.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of LodzLodzPoland
  5. 5.Department of AnthropologyInstitute of Biology, University of Environmental and Life SciencesWroclawPoland

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