The Population of Polotsk in the 17-18th Centuries According to Anthropological Data

DOI: 10.14673/IJA201511003
Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.1 – 2015

Key words: paleoanthropology, craniology, osteology, skeletal proportions, bone robusticity, Polotsk, Belarus.

The objective of our research was the complex study of the 17- 18th century palaeoanthropological series of specimens from Polotsk. The specimens were obtained as a result of archaeological excavations in the territory of the Polotsk fortified settlement. These excavations yielded the skeletal remains of 48 human skeletons in various conditions. The craniological specimens from the burials represent 43 skulls: 14 male, 10 female and 19 children, 20 of which (14 male and 6 female) turned out to be suitable for measuring in accordance with the craniometric program. We also measured and subsequently analysed postcranial skeletons on the basis of robusticity and hardness indices of the long bones of arms and legs. We selected 21 skeletons of adult subjects for our osteometric study. We mea- sured 13 male and 8 female postcranial skeletons.
We have established morphological similarity between the Polotsk population and the rural population of Lukoml, which denotes genetic relations between the townsmen and the local population of the Polotsk vicinity.
The average value of intravital body length in males was 165.9 cm. and in females 155.4 cm. Males were more often characterized by a comparatively shortened forearm compared to the shoulder, according to the value of the brachial index. The male group were characterized by very flattened radii with a well pronounced interosseous crest. The females, on the contrary, had slightly flattened bones with a not very pronounced interosseous crest.

Borutskaya, S.B.
Department of Anthropology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.

Vasilyev, S.V.
Department of Physical Anthropology,
N.N. Miklukho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology,
The Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia.

Yemialyanchyk V.A.
Department of National and World History,
Polotsk State University, Polotsk, Republic of Belarus.

Ecological Adaptations of the Kola Peninsula Neolithic People: Postcranial Morphology and Paleopathology

DOI: 10.14673/IJA201511001
Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.1 (1-19) – 2015

Key words: paleopathology, caries, enamel hypoplasia, cold stress.

To examine biological adaptations to northern latitudes in Neolithic human populations of the Kola Peninsula, we compared the skeleton proportions, bone robusticity and pathological changes of the Bolshoy Oleniy Island skeletal series with those of Sami from the 19-20th centuries, who occupied the northern Kola Peninsula. The burial ground on Bolshoy Oleniy Island in the Barents sea dates to around 3500 years ago. The specific values of body length parameters and proportion indices of the extremities, suggest that the Sami people were better adapted to the environment of the Far North than the Bolshoy Oleniy islanders. On the other hand, the extremities of the Bolshoy Oleniy islanders were much longer than those of the Sami people of the Kola Peninsula.
Porosity of the skull cap, facial skeleton and postcranial bones, periodontitis with enamel hypoplasia, and traces of traumas and periostitis of the shin bones were typical pathologies of the skeletons of the Oleniy island people, as well as the Sami. A characteristic feature, however, of the Oleniy Island people’s health was a nearly 100% absence of caries. The Sami of the northern Kola Peninsula evidenced much more frequent dentoalveolar pathologies. One third of the individuals buried on Bolshoy Oleniy Island had markers of childhood rickets on their bones. Diseases affecting both the Oleniy Island people and the Sami were most likely caused by a low level of insolation and the resulting deficiency in vitamin D production, as well as cold stress, a lack of vegetables in their diet, and hence, the lack of necessary vitamins.

Vasilyev, S.V.
Head of the Department of Physical Anthropology,N.N.Miklukho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky Prospekt, 32а, Moscow, Russia.

Borutskaya, S.B.
Chair of Anthropology,
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory, 1, Building, 12, Moscow, Russia.