Bioarchaeology of the Near East: volume 16 is now available online

The most recent volume of Bioarchaeology of the Near East contains three regular papers. Grigoria Ioannou and Kirsi O. Lorenz present a systematic review of the history and current state of research on bioarchaeology in Cyprus. Yossi Nagar and colleagues discuss the discovery of a disarticulated male skeleton found in a cave in the Judean desert and dated to the Early Chalcolithic. Finally, Stephen Haines and colleagues present two cases of concha bullosa, a relatively rare non-metric trait occurring in the nasal conchae and identified in two females from 20th-century Cyprus.

In this volume you will find paper titled:

Bioarchaeological research in Cyprus: A review

We present a review of the history of human bioarchaeological research in Cyprus through the examination of published literature. We survey and discuss past and current trends, indicate gaps, highlight developments within recent years, propose future directions and provide an up-to-date literature review. While scholarly studies of ancient Cypriot human remains had already begun to emerge towards the end of the 19th century, continuing intermittently throughout the 1900s, significant changes took place during the 1980s. This later flourishing of human bioarchaeology in Cyprus, in contrast to conventional archaeological research, which had been making significant contributions to the investigation of ancient Cyprus since the early 20th century, is aligned with international developments. During the last two decades of the 20th century, human bioarchaeology in Cyprus sees a significant development towards a more scientific orientation in contrast to previous years. To date, 201 publications on Cypriot archaeological human remains have been found in journals, bulletins, books, monographs, proceedings and postgraduate research theses. The 1980s mark the beginning of a new era within human bioarchaeology in Cyprus. The number of problem-oriented human bioarchaeological studies focusing on archaeological questions as well as the number of studies drawing on scientific techniques beyond the standard morphological and metric approaches have increased significantly within the last decades. The number of researchers focusing on human bioarchaeology in Cyprus has also increased. Recent years have seen state-of-the-art approaches increasingly applied to the investigation and analysis of human remains, taking place within an interdisciplinary archaeological framework. These developments and the introduction of further cutting-edge methods and techniques are contributing towards key interpretations about the ancient inhabitants of the island and their lifeways.

Alone in a cave: Examination of a 5200 BCE skeleton from the Judean Desert, Israel

The remains of a >50-years-old male, thus far representing the only complete skeleton dated to the Early Chalcolithic (Wadi Rabah) period in Israel, were recovered in a cave in the Judaean desert (Nahal Mishmar, F1-003). The old male suffered abscesses in the maxilla following tooth caries, and a well-healed trauma in the left tibial midshaft. Skull and mandibular morphology were described using plain measurements, indices and angles, and compared with similarly taken Chalcolithic data. In addition, mandibular morphology was captured using a landmark-based geometric morphometrics method and compared to Natufian hunter-gatherers, Pre-Pottery Neolithic early farmers, and Late Chalcolithic populations. The results, although cautionary, reveal similarity to the succeeding Ghassulian Chalcolithic period populations and suggest population continuity from the Early to the Late (Ghassulian) Chalcolithic period. Future ancient DNA study may clarify this hypothesis and further reveal population affinity in this period in Israel.

Two cases of concha bullosa in a contemporary Cypriot skeletal collection

Concha bullosa is the hypertrophy of the superior, middle, or inferior nasal conchae, most commonly referring to the pneumatisation of the middle conchae. It is considered to be the most common anatomical variant of the osteomeatal complex, rather than a pathological development. Though it is common, its aetiology is poorly understood. It is unclear whether sex or ethnicity impacts on the prevalence of concha bullosa, though some research suggests a correlation. Some researchers have argued that concha bullosa predisposes individuals to sinusitis, but the link is not consistent.
In this paper, the authors present two new skeletal cases of bilateral concha bullosa identified in female individuals taken from the Cyprus Reference Research Collection (CRRC). This work aims to highlight the limitations associated with the palaeopathological diagnosis of inflammation and the interpretation of skeletal lesions that may be related to sinusitis or infection of the osteomeatal complex in archaeological bone, in relation to the presence of concha bullosa.

The volume is available online under the Creative Commons license at


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