A case of an unusually large survived neurocranial trauma with marks of partial trephination from West Slovakia (10th century A.D.)

M. Thurzo, J. Lietava, M. Vondráková


An analysis of the skeletal remains of a younger adult man showed evidence of an extensive survived neurocranial trauma with a loss of 88 cm2 of parietal bones. The etiological factor of the insult might have been a blunt blow which caused a depressed fracture of the afected area. The regular shape of the posterior ridge of the perforation demonstrates a successful trephination. On the other hand, the irregular shape of the anterior ridge, along with the inflammation marks, does not support the idea of some form of operational intervention in this area. Localized over the vital brain structures, the depression of the left parietal on the anterior ridge of the perforation might have been a reason for the reserved approach of the operator(s).

Startling paleopathological findings comprise extensive neurocranial injuries, especially those with marks of healing or evidence of therapeutic influence. Numerous findings from Czechoslovak territory, dating from various times, prove a high frequency of healed neurocranial insults. In such cases we often observe better healing tendencies than in injuries of postcranial skeleton.

In this paper we present a case of an unusually large cranial injury with a loss of considerable part of the cranial vault. The affected individual was buried in grave No. 82 of the Vinohrady burial site at Bučany (county of Trnava) dated to the 10th century A.D. Considering the attended archaeological artifacts an autochthonic Slavic population was buried in this site.

The buried man rested on his back with the upper extremities stretched alongside his body. At his right hand lay an iron knife (84×11 mm). No other artefacts were found in the grave.

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