Alterations of cervical vertebrae in two individuals from the Late Antiquity Necropolis from the "Big Mound" near Cabyle, Bulgaria


  • Victoria Russeva Institute of Experimental Morphology, Pathology and Anthropology with the Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria



C1–C2 abnormalities, Late Antiquity, Bulgaria


The anthropological examination of two skeletons, of individuals identified as males, at 30–40 and 60–65 years, respectively, excavated from the grave complexes of the Necropolis of Big Mound, Cabyle, dated in the late 4th century AD, revealed abnormalities in the cervical section of the vertebral column, in C 1st and 2nd. In the first case (grave N 2), neural arches of C1 and C2 are fused together by two clearly visible bony bridges at the dorsal side of neural arches. In the second case (grave N 3) both vertebrae are changed, with the dens axis strongly bended to the left, the articulation surfaces with the first vertebra are on different geometrical surfaces, the left one being on a higher positionand bended at approximately 90°. The form the first cervical vertebra is adequate to the changes of the second vertebra. A lack of lesions, characteristic of the trauma or the infection is observed. The case from grave N 2 appears easy to be explained with inborn anomaly, as the Clippel-Fiel syndrome. The appearance of fusion, realized by clearly distinguishable bony bridges and clearly divided vertebrae from each other, instead of characteristic of the inborn condition, close, undivided position of neural arches with unclear outlines, the result from abnormality in embryonic development makes it also possible to have the interpretation as a survived trauma in the region. The changes of cervical vertebrae from the individual from grave N 3, could be interpreted as the development in the course of ossification of the centre of the dens axis and these both as halves of atlas during infancy.


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