A humerus varus deformity in a eneolithic grave from Gumelnița (Călărași County, Romania)

Cercetări Arheologice 30.2, 2023, 541-552

A humerus varus deformity in a eneolithic grave from Gumelnița (Călărași County, Romania)

Authors: Mihaela Culea Adina Boroneanț


Paleopathology; humerus varus deformity; birth trauma; Eneolithic; Gumelnița culture (Romania)


A case of right unilateral humerus varus deformity (HVD) was observed on the skeleton of an adult male individual uncovered on the eastern terrace of the Măgura Gumelnița, Călărași County, Romania. Skeleton M2/1962 was found crouched on the left side, the upper part of the body facing down. It was attributed to the Gumelnița culture (4600/4500 – 3800/3700 BC). Age at death was estimated to 30-32 years. The skeleton was subsequently restored in the Laboratory of Paleoanthropology, Institute of Anthropology Fr. I. Rainer, Bucharest in the 1960s, but no anthropological information was ever published and is still in the possession of the Institute.

The affected humerus shows a bulky proximal epiphysis and an angulated diaphysis. No signs of fracture are present. The rest of the skeleton has a normal appearance. The proposed differential diagnoses for humerus varus are thalassemia, mucopolysaccharidosis, infection and birth trauma. Individuals with HVD have a functional limitation of the affected limb as shown by clinical data. The rate of morbidity caused by this deformity is low. This is the only reported case from the Romanian Eneolithic and brings a substantial contribution to the study of HVD in skeletons from archaeological contexts.

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How to cite: Mihaela Culea, Adina Boroneanț, A humerus varus deformity in a eneolithic grave from Gumelnița (Călărași County, Romania), Cercetări Arheologice, Vol. 30.2, pag. 541-552, 2023, doi: https://doi.org/10.46535/ca.30.2.07


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