PERERVA E.V. Paleopathology of Skulls from Golden Horde Settlement Shareny Mound


Evgeny V. Pererva

Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor,

Department of Russian and Foreign History, Archaeology, Volgograd State University,

Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. The paper is devoted to the examination of craniological materials of the late middle age originating from the Shareniy Bugor archaeological complex.

Methods and materials. A complete series which includes 33 individual remains is now kept by the Research Institute and the Museum of Anthropology of Moscow State University. The access to scientific information on the series has been opened for the first time. The series consists of 24 male skulls, 4 female brain capsules, two childrens and 3 adolescent craniums.

Analysis. The standard assessment program of pathological conditions on postcranial skeleton and skull bones developed by A.P. Buzhilova (1995, 1998) was applied in the course of examination of the anthropological material.

Results. A wide range of cranium anomalies, various dentition diseases, endocrine disease markers, signs of exposure to low temperatures, episodic stress traces and numerous injuries were recorded as a result of the examination of the bone material. Conclusions. The series under consideration does not meet the paleopopulation criteria, i.e. cannot be a prototype of a really existing group of medieval urban population. Signs of unintentional artificial deformity of the occipital type were recorded on the skulls of the studied sample. The identified stress markers indicate that the urban population of the Volga Delta was exposed to the pressure of negative factors due to the natural and social environment including cold temperatures, hunger, war, etc. The population group originating from Shareniy Bugor settlement probably specialized in living in the river area, which led to a specific diet and the appearance of cases of diseases typical for people spending a long time in a cold water environment. Extremely high rates of injuries, including combat near-death and lethal ones, wounds to the skull facial area characterize the studied part of the population as a group that actively participated in hostilities. A series of skulls originating from Shareniy Bugor settlement probably belongs to a specific social stratum or the handicraft part of the population of the Golden Horde city of Khadzhi-Tarkhan which was engaged in river fishing and whose appearance (hairstyle and constantly worn headdress) was very different from most townspeople; they probably actively defended the city during the raids of enemies.

Key words: Golden Horde, Middle Ages, Lower Volga region, skulls, Shareniy Bugor, Khadzhi-Tarkhan, paleopathology.

Citation. Pererva E.V. Paleopathology of Skulls from Golden Horde Settlement Shareniy Bugor. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2020, vol. 25, no. 5, pp. 141-161. (in Russian). DOI:

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Paleopathology of Skulls from Golden Horde Settlement Shareny Mound by Pererva E.V. is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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