ArcheoPark Netolice Naleziste Muzeum

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Anthropological and archaeological research

The sets of approximately 18 incomplete human skeletons, originating from explorations in 2000, bring with them interesting anthropological material. The Anthropological Department of the National Museum in Prague was asked to examine them. The anthropological material was examined by RNDr. Vítězslav Kuželka, and RNDr. Miriam Nývltová-Fišáková from theInstitute of Archaeology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in Brno, identified the animal bones.

Many more important period anthropological series exist in the South Bohemian region (e.g. Radomyšl near Strakonice). The set from Netolice is noteworthy because it has so many child burials. The studied anthropological materials from the archaeological exploration consist of, for one, the bones found in individual layers of the two archaeological probes, and two, the contents of specific graves discovered in these probes. However, these two groups of materials from an anthropological point of view have different testimonial values and this fact had to be taken into consideration when choosing the methodology for analysing and processing the materials. Bones from individual layers usually came from more than one individual, sometimes the number of which cannot even be roughly determined. However, the findings from the scattered bones can, for example, complete our picture of the health of the studied population. In most cases the human bones were intermixed with a larger amount of animal bones. These were mainly represented by the bones of cattle and domestic pigs and sheep and goats. However, also undetermined bird bones (poultry), and dog and deer bones were also found.

The most interesting findings:

Grave no. 1/00

Grave no. 1 contained a man with a robust skeleton who was tall, at least 172 cm. We can estimate him to be between 30–50 years old. He suffered from significant thinning of the bones in the lumbar spinal column and arthritis of the small joints in his hands and feet.

Grave no. 2/00

The sex of the individual cannot be unambiguously determined due to the bad state of the skeleton, but it was most likely a woman. Her age can be estimated at between 20–30 years. The skeleton is of a medium build with strongly developed muscle attachment points. If the sex has been determined correctly, then we can estimate the height of the buried individual to be around 161 cm. The skeleton of the lower extremities has changes that can be interpreted as an adaptation to frequent activities “with the knees bent”.

Grave no. 3/00

Grave no. 3 contained the burial of a small child between 2–3 years old. The regions of porous bones in both eye sockets probably indicate the manifestation of anaemia.

Grave no. 4/00

A woman was buried in grave no. 4. She died at an age of about 20–30 years. She had a gracile skeleton and was about 158 cm tall. She suffered from increased tooth decay and degenerative changes in her intervertebral discs (osteochondrosis), which would not be expected for a woman of her age.

Grave no. 5/00
A child about 3 years old was buried in grave no. 5.
Grave no. 6/00

A child about 4 years old was buried in grave no. 6. The cranial vault had signs of the thinning of cranial bones, which evidently arose due to a fault in their ossification.

Grave no. 7/00

A child about 2–3 years old was buried in grave no. 7.

Grave no. 8/00

An adult woman between the ages of 40–50 years was buried in grave no. 8. She had a robust skeleton with strongly developed muscle attachment points and was about 163 cm tall. The bones of the lower extremities have changes that can be interpreted as an adaptation to life “with the knees bent”. The woman suffered from degenerative changes in her intervertebral discs (osteochondrosis) and arthritis of the knee joints.

Grave no. 10/00

This was the burial of a man around twenty years old. He had a robust skeleton and medium-developed muscle attachment points. He was about 170 cm tall.

Grave no. 11/00

This was an almost complete skeleton of a small child. Both temporal bones had the green discolouration of copper ions. According to the development of the teeth, it is possible to estimates the child’s age as between 5–6 years. The lower third diaphysis of the right humeral bone had the same green discolouration as on the cranium. The length of the diaphysis of the long bones indicates a child of a greater age, which could be evidence of the child’s good physical condition before death. The height of the child according to Stewart (1960) is about 150 cm.

Grave no. 12/00

This grave contains the badly preserved remains of the right half of the skeleton of a small child about 4 years old.

Grave no. 13/00

A juvenile individual (15-20 years old) was buried in grave no. 13, probably a woman.          

Grave no. 14/00

The burial of a small child about 2–3 years old with regions of porous bones in the roofs of the eye sockets (cribra orbitalia), which are considered to be a manifestation of anaemia.

Grave no. 15/00

The burial of an adult, probably a woman, with a medium-built to gracile skeleton. We can estimate her age to be between 50–60 years according to the extent of medullar cavities in the head of her femurs. The height of the buried person was about 161–162 cm.

Grave no. 16/00

This was the burial of a man 40–50 years old with a robust skeleton and strongly developed muscle attachment points. We can estimate his height to be about 166 cm. We see changes in the right thigh bone and the shank bones that can be interpreted as an adaptation to life “with the knees bent”. Both feet had a peculiar extra small bone.

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