– THE SECOND OLDEST TOWN IN FINLAND

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– THE SECOND OLDEST TOWN IN FINLAND
PALEOPATHOLOGY OF PORVOO (BORGÅ)
– THE SECOND OLDEST TOWN IN FINLAND
Kati Salo
Porvoo
Introduction
Caries was found in more than half of the adults and in one child. It is more common than during the
Iron Age in Finland, but less abundant than same centuries Lappeenranta in eastern Finland (Salo
2005:81, Salo 2007). The reason may be differential diet, dental hygiene or differential Fluoride
quantities in groundwater. Abscesses were recorded from nine individuals and calculus and
parodontitis were also usual findings. One find, a toothbrush-ear spoon from the filling of the graves
should also be mentioned.
The aim of this poster is to present different
types of pathologies in an early urban center
in the north. The material consists of 53 wellpreserved skeletons excavated and analyzed
during 2007 [Pictures 1-2]. The material can
be dated mostly to the 17th and 18th
centuries, but some may be younger, even
from the 14th century. The first church was
built at the end of the 13th or the beginning
of 14th century and the cemetery was
abandoned in year 1789 (Knapas 1987:65,
Selen ?:1,19, Mäntylä 1994:438). More precise
dating to 17th and 18th centuries is based on PICTURES 1-2. Good preservation of this material is shown by the
presence of ossified cartilages and prenatal bones.
the cultural habits: most were buried in
wooden coffins and some had grave goods
(Hiekkanen 2003:158, Hiekkanen 2006:23-29). Men and women were
found with pipe wear [Picture 3]. Those graves may be dated to after
1641, when tobacco was first imported to Porvoo (Hartman
1906:155). Due to lack of specialist training and general poor
preservation of bones in Finnish acidic soil, only a few studies about
Human osteology have been published so far (collated in Salo
2005:9-11,158).
Joint changes were found in 17 individuals, mostly older adults. Phalanges 2 and 3 were ankylosed in
seven individuals [Picture 8]. Slight congenital malformations were found from six individuals, mostly
affecting the spine [Picture 9]. Traumatic injuries (in a total of six individuals) were most commonly
found in ribs and among young males [Pictures 10-11].
PICTURE 8. Phalanges 2 and 3 were
ankylosed in seven individuals.
Stature estimations are based on measurements of the
femur, tibia and humerus (Trotter et al. 1952, 1958,
Sjøvold 1990) [Figure 3]. Pathologies were recorded and
described as accurately as possible (Brothwell 1981:155,
Steckel et al. 2006:13, Goodman et al. 1980, Sager 1969).
Tooth size
120
100
PICTURE 11. Colle’s fracture
crown area cm2
80
F
60
M
40
20
38/48
37/47
37/47
36/46
35/45
35/45
Tooth number (FDI)
34/44
33/43
33/43
32/42
31/41
31/41
18/28
17/27
17/27
16/26
15/25
15/25
14/24
13/23
13/23
11/21
11/21
12/22
0
FIGURE 1. Sub adult sex estimations are based
on measurements of crown area (Salo
2005:107-110).
16
14
12
10
tot.
8
female
6
male
4
2
Adult
(adultus/maturus/senilis)
Senilis (50-79 v.)
Maturus (35-64 v.)
Adultus/Maturus
Adultus (18-44 v.)
Juvenilis (10-24 v.)
Infans II (5-14 v.)
Infans I (0-7 v.)
Perinatal
Infant (-1 v.)
c
0
FIGURE 2 Men and women are equally
represented in adult age classes, but at least
half of the sub adults, who died after the age
of 5, are determined as boys.
Stature
cm
Sub adult age estimation is based on dental eruption,
union of epiphyses and length of the diaphyses (Ubelaker
1989, Scheuer and Black 2004, Ubelaker 1989). Adult age
estimation is based on dental wear, suturasynostosis,
changes in sternal end of the clavicle, pubic symphysis,
auricular surface and sternal end of the fourth rib and
ossification of thyroid cartilage (Buikstra et al. 1994:5253, Varrela 1996:24, Meindl and Lovejoy 1985, Brooks and
Suchey 1990:227-238, Lovejoy et al. 1985, Loth et al.
1989). Sjøvolds (1978) classification for age groups was
used. If we compare osteological age estimations and
known ages of death from 18th century lists from Porvoo
(Mäntylä 1994:343), we find that proportions are about
the same. This indicates that preservation of the remains
is good and that all age classes are being buried at the
same locations in the graveyard. The only problem is that
younger adults are overrepresented. This is a well known
problem of adult age estimations (Jackes 2000:417-421).
Sex estimations are based on morphology of the skull,
mandible and innominates and also measurements of the
femur, humerus, radius, scapula and teeth (During
2000:19-29, Buikstra et al. 1994:18-20, Bass 1995, Salo
2005:107-110 [Figures 1 & 2]).
PICTURE 10. Dislocated shoulder.
Signs of specific infections were found in four young adults. Possible
cases of osteomyelitis, tuberculosis and syphilis were recorded [Figures 56, Pictures 12-13, see also Pictures 9 & 11]. In the 18th century venereal
diseases became usual and dangerous mercury was used to cure it
(Mäntylä 1994:349). In 1771, one “fire watch” and his wife and children
are mentioned to be tainted by venereal disease (Mäntylä 1994:349). Also
signs of non-specific infections were found [Pictures 14-15].
PICTURE 3 Pipe wear
Materials and Methods
PICTURE 9. Bifid rib
180
170
160
150
140
130
35 32 17 16
1
24
8
45 18 26 10 46
2 38 49 37 33 52 55 47 19 27 30 44 53
FIGURE 5. Possible case of osteomyelitis, or TB, except that the spinal
changes are missing
PICTURE 12 Samples of calcified pleura for TB-DNA research were given in
May (Roberts and Buikstra)
FIGURE 6. Possible case of syphilis.
PICTURE 13 Woven and lamellar bone formation from the same individual
Grave number
FIGURE 3. Stature of men varies form 167 cm
to 175 cm and women 147cm to 168 cm.
Pathological bones were photographed and anatomical distribution charts of pathologies
were drawn. Colours represent different disease categories:
Dental disease/joint disease (green)
Congenital malformations/trauma (blue)
Metabolic disease (red)
Infections/others (black)
Results and Discussion
In total, fifteen individuals died under the age of one. Reasons for infant deaths have thought
to be due to poxes, hooping-cough and lack of hygiene (Mäntylä 1994:342-344).
Most of the infants (10/14) are suspected of having suffered from scurvy [Pictures 3-6]. The
potato was introduced to Porvoo in 1770s (Mäntylä 1994:391) and is said to have defeated
scurvy in Finland (Forsius 1994:2377). Epidemics in the 18th century occur mostly in spring
time (Mäntylä 1994:349-359). Maybe in the springtime the immune system was weakest,
because of the deficiencies in the diet. The second most common sign of metabolic disease
was hypoplasia. Hypoplasia was mainly found amongst adults (in seven out of eight cases).
Usually individuals who had hypoplasia also died young (Salo 2005:75, Swärstedt 1966:91).
Those that had signs of linear enamel hypoplasia were shorter in stature than the ones who
had no signs of hypoplasia. Cribra orbitalia were found from six, mainly adult, individuals.
PICTURE 14. Endocranial woven bone formation on sub-adult individual
PICTURE 15. Abscess with woven bone formation
Conclusion
On the whole these results are not surprising. The lack of vitamin C during winter in northern latitudes
has been a problem, and early urban centers are known to be favorable to infections. Men, usually, are
also more susceptible to traumatic injuries. Further catch-up growth may not have been able to fully
compensate for earlier arrested growth. The only surprising result is that the ones who had signs of
enamel hypoplasia had generally reached adulthood.
Currently I am taking x-rays at the department of forensic medicine of the University of Helsinki of all
the bones found from Porvoo church. The intention is mainly to study neoplasms, osteoporosis, Harris
lines and trauma with two radiologists. This study is still in progress and therefore the results will be
published later.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
FIGURE 4. Skeletal distribution of pathological changes in an
infant with scurvy.
PICTURES 4-7. Greater wing of the sphenoid, coronoid process and
superior scapula are key locations of changes in scurvy. Also, Ilium
often shows similar changes
CONTACT
M.A. Kati Salo
Post-graduate student, University of Helsinki
[email protected], +358-44-582 3065
Eteläinen Rautatiekatu 18 D 33, FIN-00100 Helsinki, Finland
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https://oa.doria.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/921/whatanci.pdf?sequence=1