A case of osteomalacia in human skeletal remains from St Hripsime Church (Horom, Armenia)

  • A. Yu. Khudaverdyan Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences, Yerevan
  • A. A. Yengibaryan Yerevan Mkhitar Heratsi State Medical University, Yerevan
  • A. A. Hovhanesyan Armenian Republican Medical Centre, Yerevan
  • H. H. Khachatryan Shirak Centre of Armenian Studies, National Academy of Sciences
  • L. G. Yeganyan Shirak Centre of Armenian Studies, National Academy of Sciences
Keywords: Osteomalacia, pseudofracture, curvature of the sterna and sacrum, X-ray, the Middle Ages, Armenia


In this study, we investigated the remains of an individual that were recovered during cleansing work of the Church of St Hripsime. Macroscopic and X-Ray inspections yielded pathological criteria which indicated osteomalacic origin. The findings of the study suggest that the individual who lived in the Late Medieval period may have gone through multiple episodes of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency as an effect of deficient exposure to sunlight (in particular, in rural individuals who lived in underground houses) and nourishment deficiency could be described as the main causes leading to osteomalacia in Armenia.


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