Skeletal residue results of Tomb Kasta at Amphipolis

As reported in the press release of December 19, 2014, completion of the macroscopic study of bone material from the tomb on the hill castes, which has undertaken multidisciplinary team of Universities Aristotle and Democritus, would be completed in January 2015. The Ministry had committed , an oral briefing, as demonstrated in those publications, that the announcement of the results of the study will have a deadline of 20 January 2015.


The skeletal remains of the funerary monument, the hill castes Amphipolis representing approximately 550 bones, crushed and intact skull in good condition, from which missing bones that make up the face and an almost intact mandible. There were no teeth except one carious root right second premolar, which was located in the mandible and displays advanced apical abscess.

Of the 550 bones, which were counted, 157, which emerged after careful repair, different scattered bone fragments were recorded systematically in a database and made their performance effort to single individuals.

Moreover, animal bones were identified, some of which seem to belong to equine long bones. The animal bones will be studied by a special Zooarchaeology.

The minimum number of individuals identified by the diagnostic skeletal remains equivalent to five people, four of which are assigned to burials and a combusted.

The deads of burial distinguished: In a woman (person 1)

(Fig. 1-2),

two middle aged men

(subjects 2 and 3) (Fig. 3-6)

  and a newborn person

(4 person) (Fig. 7, 8).

Person 1: Female

The woman can safely be placed in the age more than 60 years. Sex determination was based on specific indices concerning:

1) in the pelvic bones (pelvis) (left major sciatic notch, right protiaia groove, right and left ischial tuberosity iliac crest, the body and spine sciatic)

2) the bones of the skull (glabella, yperofrya bows slope frontal, frontal tuberosities, lower temporal line, mastoid process, occipital ridge)

3) in the mandible (beards, angle mandibular branches)

4) morphological deformities of bones (the long bone measurements).

The determination of age based:

1) a part of the left pubic symphysis (front part of the basin)

2) the degree of synostosis of the cranial sutures,

3) the strong antemortem loss of posterior teeth on both sides of the lower jaw,

4) in the presence of metabolic diseases such as osteoporosis and frontal hyperostosis (Hyperostosis Frontalis Interna: thickening of the skull walls, internally of the frontal bone, which is usually asymptomatic and is associated with hormonal disorders that often occur in women after menopause) ,

5) the strong degenerative changes, especially in the spine and ossification insertions and cartilage in the long bones and the sides.

As regards the height of the old woman, after applying the combination of different methods in the long bones measurements estimated at 157 million.

In female skeleton seems are the main bones found in the cist grave, from 7.8 m. From the top of the chamber and down, that is 1 m. Above the floor of the cist.

Subjects 2 and 3: Two men, 35 to 45 years.

Two subjects (2 and 3), the four who had received burial may safely be attributed to men, by:

1) anatomical points on the bones of the pelvis (pelvic) (left and right pubic bone and especially abdominal arc ypoiviki cavity and mean area of bone, left protiaia channel, left and right ischial tuberosity, left and right acetabulum, sacral morphology for person two and right ischial tuberosity and sacral morphology for the individual 3)

2) the morphological conformation of the long bones (the long bone measurements).

The two men are relatively close age, in the category of 35-45 years: The one at the beginning and the second towards the end of the class.

The determination of the age of the person 2 based on:

1) in both the pubic symphysis (front part of the basin)

2) the degeneration of ear-like surface of the left pelvis (the area of the basin, which articulates with the sacrum)

3) to complete synostosis epiphyseal the sternal edges on both keys.

The determination of the age range for the individual 3, based on the right pubic symphysis.

It is noted that the relatively youngest of the two male (2 atom) bearing traces sections (cut marks) on the left and upper thoracic area, on two sides and cervical vertebra (Fig. 9-11) and the bottom surface of the sternal end of the left key. Probably identical with aggressive blows-injuries, which should be made by contact with a sharp instrument eg knife and caused his death, as no healing indications distinguished.

The second man (person 3), slightly higher than the first, has evidence transverse fully healed fracture in his right radius, relatively close to the right wrist. Moreover, both men have degenerative osteoarthritis and spondylitis lesions in different parts of their skeletons.

In regard to stature of men after applying the combination of different methods in the long bones measurements estimated at 168 m. For person 2 and the 162-163 m. For 3 atom.

Person 4 and 5

The fourth person is a newborn infant (newborn). The determination of age based on the length and width measurements of the left humerus and left mandible. Sex determination in that person would not be possible as the morphological characteristics of sex discrimination in the bones of infants are not clear.

The fifth person represented by minimum fragments, only nine (9), especially long bones (Figs. 12, 13) carrying all the deformations (transverse microcracks sometimes intense deformation) and discolorations (off-white and blue / gray) found in complete combustion cases incarnate dead and probably belongs to an adult person.

The general finding picture skeletal residues advocates scraping from anthropogenic interference, which apparently involved both inside the space 4 and inside the cist tomb.


In skeletal findings of burial monument hill castes except the visual methods, we implemented a series of analytical methods to better documentation and the completion of fuller information on the pathological changes in diet, the affinity and the place of origin of these people, ie whether they are people who were born and grew up in Amphipolis or people who have moved from somewhere else in their lives and were buried in this tomb.

These analytical methods include:

radiographic study of bone to identify pathological lesions, which is not visually distinguishable but for a fuller description of the already recorded e.g. frontal hyperostosis person 1, sections-injuries (cut marks) person 2 person healed fracture 3.

histological-microscopic techniques eg If frontal hyperostosis, and wherever else necessary.

analyzes of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen in order to identify the type of protein consumed the specific individuals.

strontium analyzes due to the absence of teeth will be limited only to the values resulting from the sampling of bone.

palaiogenetikes assays (ancient DNA) to describe the biological and genetic history individuals. As part of the analysis will examine the possible blood affinity of three. But tafonomiki The presence of long bones, absence of teeth and parts of the skull in individuals 2 and 3 used in ancient DNA analysis, may prevent obtaining sufficient amounts of endogenous nuclear DNA to successfully and accurately identify the blood relationship. In persons 4 and 5, because of the limited amount of sample and of the high temperature effect due to combustion, the person 5, the above methods can not be applied.

The application of AMS dating samples of both human bones and the contextual animals, will complete the picture of the succession of tombs, which can be reconstituted through the excavation process.

Both the visual and analytical methods will be applied to a large number of structures, about 300 from the cemeteries of Amphipolis, within two years research project, funded by the Ministry of Culture and carried out by numerous research team led by S. ladies. Triantafyllou, assistant Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology and Osteoarchaiologias, Department of History and Archaeology, Aristotle and Ch. Papageorgopoulou, assistant Professor of Physical Anthropology, Department of History and Ethnology, Laboratory of Physical Anthropology, LBB. The group consists of undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students of Aristotle and Democritus University and internationally renowned and external partners.

In this way gained valuable comparative material, so that:

1) the specific skeletal remains from the extremely important funerary monument hill castes to join a wider population total,

2) the results of analytical methods in archaeological contexts be interpreted in context with the results of the macroscopic study of a total population

3) make clear that anthropological findings should be considered in the archaeological, social and historical context, which only offered through the systematic study of synefrimaton and the overall approach of the period.

Image Captions:
Figure 1: Approximate representation Individual bones 1
Figure 2: Approximate representation Individual bone marrow 1 photos
Figure 3: Indicative representation Person 2 bone
Figure 4: Indicative represented Individuals with bone marrow 2 photos
Figure 5: Indicative representation Person 3 bone
Figure 6: Approximate representation Person 3 bone marrow photos
Figure 7: Approximate representation bone Person 4
Figure 8: Indicative representation bone marrow Person 4 photos
Figure 9: Person 2, left side first with traces of three sections (cut marks) (bone Number, # 31.1) Figure 10: Person 2, left side first, detail of the lateral incision (cut mark) neck (bone Number, # 31.1) Figure 11: Person 2, left side trail incision (cut mark) in the upper edge of the body Figure 12: Person 5 bones that have undergone the influence of high temperature, after burning
Figure 13: Person 5 bones that have undergone the influence of high temperature, after burning

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