Problems of Archaeology, Ethnography, Anthropology of
Siberia and Neighboring Territories

ISSN 2658-6193 (Online)

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2019 Volume XXV

DOI: 10.17746/2658-6193.2019.25.642-648

УДК 572.08

Tumors on the Human Bones from the Burial Mounds of the Pazyryk Culture in the Ak-Alakha River Valley (Ukok Plateau, Altai Mountains)

Chikisheva T.A., Aristova E.S., Elyasin P.A., Polosmak N.V.

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Abstract

The collection of human remains (16 individuals, including 10 males, 2 females, and 4 children) from the burial mounds of the Pazyryk culture, located in the Ak-Alakhi River Valley has been analyzed. This paleoanthropological evidence had been previously studied using a craniometric and odontoscopic methodology, however, the bioarchaeological information reflecting the effects of biological and sociocultural environmental factors was ignored. This article describes tumor pathologies found on the bones. High incidence of tumor diseases in this group has been observed. Taking into account the female mummy from the Ak-Alakha-3 burial mound, whose tomographic examination revealed the breast tumor and metastatic oncological decease in the bodies of the thoracic vertebrae Th1-Th3 (Letyagin, Savelov, 2014), this pathology has been found in five individuals, which constitutes over 30 % of the adult group. Three young males from the burials in the Ak-Alakha-1, Ak-Alakha-5, and Bertek-12 complexes had metaphyseal tumors, which we diagnosed as osteochondromae and ososteoid osteomae. Pathological hypertrophy was found on the slope of sphenoid bone, on the outer surface of the basilar part of the occipital bone in the sphenoid-occipital synostosis, and in the sphenoid sinus on male remains from the burial mound at Ak-Alakha-5. The factors which might have caused skeletal bone tumors could include skeletal overload in the early age, endocrine disorders such as hyperfunction of the thyroid gland, dietary features, method of cooking on the open fire, smoke from the hearth in the dwellings in cold weather, and environmental factors.

Keywords

Altai Mountains, Pazyryk culture, bone tumors, metaphyseal cartilage, osteochondroma, osteoma

17, Аkademika Lavrentieva prosp., Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences
E-mail: sbornik.iaet@gmail.com