Author(s): Robert R Paine, Carla Signoretti, Alfredo Coppa, Rita Vargiu
Imperial Roman burials recovered from the sites of San Donato and Bivio CH, located in the city of Urbino, Italy were examined for skeletal lesions. Observed pathologies include arthritis, trauma, periostitis, cranial pitting and enamel hypoplasia. All of the adults exhibited at least one enamel hypoplasia. In general, the adult males exhibit greater rates of skeletal pathologies than the females. Clearly, chronic health problems appear to be common among all adults; nearly 89% of them exhibit at least one form of skeletal lesion. is is in stark contrast to what is seen for the sub-adults. Only one sub-adult showed skeletal lesions. Acute health problems may have been the primary contributing factors for the death of the children recovered from the site. Despite previous research and attention to malaria as a critical health problem of Roman sub-adults, it does not seem to be an issue for this burial sample. We compare the frequency of cranial pitting and periostitis for the Urbino burials to several other Imperial Roman skeletal samples as a means to assess the potential for malaria and other casual factors for the observed lesions. In conclusion, we see the extreme rate of skeletal lesions for this community as indication of an extremely poor quality of life for these Romans.