Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 30 – n.3-4 – 2015
Key words: Belarus, urban populations, craniological characteristics, secular trends.
Results from a craniometrical study on a series of skulls from Slavic urban cemeteries are presented. The skulls date from the 11th-19th centuries. The earliest skulls (30 male and 15 female) examined in this study were from an urban cemetery in Novogrudok, in the Grodno region, in the west of Belarus, where they had been buried in soil in the late 11th- early 12th centuries. Other urban populations were represented by a series of skulls excavated from soil burial grounds in the following cities: Polotsk, the north of Belarus (45 male and 11 female skulls from the 17th-18th centuries); Gory (25 male and 18 female skulls from the 17th-18th centuries); and the central part of Minsk (19 male and 15 female skulls from the 17th-19th centuries). Comparisons revealed that the series from Novogrudok was the most dolichocranic. On the whole, with the exception of some slight differences, all the skulls in this series were fairly similar. Skulls from later periods, however, as opposed to those found at Novogrudo, were brachycranic. This would appear to correspond with a process of gradual gracilization and brahicefalization, which took place in most of Europe in the second millennium AD and has been observed in later groups of the population.
Department of Anthropology and Ecology, Institute of History, The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus,
Department of National and World History, Polotsk State University, Novopolotsk, Belarus.