Possible micronutrient deficiency disease in Medieval non-adults from a religious alpine context in northeastern Italy

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Omar Larentis


Bioarchaeology, rickets, scurvy, nonadults, Alps, Middle Ages, paleopathology, Italy


Recent paleopathological investigations, aimed at identifying and proposing new morphological criteria to diagnose possible micronutrient deficiencies in the human skeletal sample, have opened new interpretative perspectives in bioarchaeological contexts, enriching them with their biocultural context. Particular importance is given to the analysis of pathologies related to non-adults, as they represent a human sample more susceptible to environmental insults, providing a valuable biological record to explore otherwise inaccessible aspects. The study focused on the non-adult osteological sample found in the church of San Vittore in Tonadico, Trento (Northeast Italy). Morphological osteological analyses were conducted to examine any present pathologies. The sample is characterized by the presence of diseases related to micronutrient deficiencies, which have been analyzed and interpreted from a biocultural perspective. This work fits into a research line that, in recent years, has explored the paleopathological aspects of Alpine populations in northern Italy, with particular attention to the medieval and modern periods, which are still relatively unexplored but of enormous scientific relevance.

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