A possible case of 'poll-evil' in an early Scythian horse skull from Arzhan 1, Tuva Republic, Central Asia

R. Bendrey, J. P. Cassidy, N. Bokovenko, S. Lepetz, G. I. Zaitseva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Occipital bone lesions on an Iron Age horse cranium from the burial mound of Arzhan 1, Tuva, Central Asia, are described and interpreted. Cavitations around the nuchal ligament attachment site on the skull are interpreted as foci of inflammation and necrosis following local infection. It is suggested that the pathology represents a case of 'poll-evil', most likely due to a bacterial infection. The significance of such an interpretation is discussed, including its implications for disease ecology and the possible infection risks to contiguous animal and human communities of the first millennium BC in Central Asia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

Keywords

  • 'poll-evil'
  • Central Asia
  • disease ecology
  • horse
  • Iron Age
  • palaeopathology
  • pastoral nomadism

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