Anthropological Analysis of Trauma Frequencies and Distribution in the Skeletal Series from the Benedictine Monastery of St Margaret in Bijela, Croatia

Željka Bedić, Andrej Janeš, Mario Šlaus


Trauma analysis was performed on skeletal material from the Benedictine Monastery of St Margaret in Bijela, Croatia. The material consists of 26 skeletons (19 males, three females and four subadults) recovered from six archaeological excavation campaigns. A high number of traumas, particularly perimortem injuries were recorded in the sample. A total of 56 traumas in 17 adults are recorded, 35 of which are perimortem. Based on this, as well as on the presence of antemortem sharp edged wounds and the predominance of craniofacial injuries it is suggested that the population buried in the monastic church was subject to high levels of intentional violence. The results are compared to two other monastic cemeteries from the same geographical and historical context, as well as two sites with high frequencies of perimortem trauma. A possible explanation for interring victims of homicide inside the monastery church is discussed in the paper.


trauma analysis, perimortem trauma, Benedictine monastery, intentional violence, paleopathology, Croatia

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