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01.09.2012 | main topic | Ausgabe 17-18/2012

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 17-18/2012

Diagnosis of contact injuries in a mediaeval skeleton analysed by µCT and histology

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 17-18/2012
Mag. Dr. rer. nat. Doris Schamall, Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Peter Pietschmann, Ass. Prof. Mag. Dr. rer. nat. Doris Moser, Mag. rer. nat. Martin Dockner, Univ.-Prof. Dr. phil. Maria Teschler-Nicola


During an archaeological excavation in Altenberg/Linz (Upper Austria), the well-preserved skeletal remains of a mature male dated the 13th century AD were recovered. Several elements of the skeleton yielded alterations caused by trauma: beside a malunion of the left ulna which was accompanied by shortening of the diaphysis, a luxation and deformation of the left radial head was observed (Monteggia-type lesion, Bado-type I). Moreover, at the anterior aspect of the corresponding humerus, a chalice-shaped, newly built bone structure that framed the displaced capitulum radii was visible. This structure formed a sort of “alternative joint” that functionally even allowed some movements, although considerably restricted in regard to flexion/extension and even more in pronation/supination.
To verify the assumption of a “single event”, we not only investigated the concerned skeletal portions by gross-anatomical examination, but also by non-invasive conventional radiological, micro-computed tomographical, and histological techniques. Particular morphological features, injuries at the calvarium, and fractures of other postcranial elements imply the scenario of a close combat; although survived, the traumata obviously resulted in partial invalidity.

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