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Cranial Expansion and Artificial Vault Modifications

Part of the Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology book series (IDCA,volume 7)

Abstract

Morphological change in artificial vault modification is brought about not by passive tissue retreat but by compensatory neurocranial expansion. During this process, the brain and the cranial vault expand toward unrestricted areas. This chapter pulls together basic notions of human neurological and craniological expansion in natural and restricted growth during infancy. To this end, anatomical and physiopathological information is called upon and used to explain the altered head growth dynamics operating during the compression process. Cranial embryology and postnatal development provide points of departure to explore and discuss natural limitations to externally induced changes in calvarial form and their side effects on the skull’s base and face. We conclude that cranial shaping is only possible during the first years of life. Secondary formational changes in the basicranium and splanchnocranium ensue depending on the degree and technique of the extrinsic forces. Its cultural implementation may also bear aesthetic implications in the form of cranial asymmetry and health risks by bleeding, local infections, or necrosis of the compressed tissue and intracranial hypertension.

Keywords

  • Cranial growth
  • Cranial pathology
  • Cranial
  • Vault modification
  • Health risks

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Unfortunately, most of the literature on the morphological implications of artificial head modeling does not differentiate between annular and tabular modeling, or between tabular oblique and erect shapes.

  2. 2.

    Also, unshaped heads tend to be slightly asymmetrical when both brain hemispheres are compared (Galaburda et al. 1978; Geschwind and Levitsky 1968; Geschwind et al. 1978). Slight shifts toward both the right and the left side occur. The specific side is associated to the individual’s particular left- or right-handedness. Thus, the global cerebral shape of right-handed individuals shows a slight increase in the occipital and parietal lobes toward the left. The opposite trend was noted in left-handed individuals.

  3. 3.

    Which is to be differentiated from primary plagiocephaly.

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Tiesler, V. (2014). Cranial Expansion and Artificial Vault Modifications. In: The Bioarchaeology of Artificial Cranial Modifications. Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology, vol 7. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8760-9_3

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