A Bioarchaeological Perspective on the Burials and Basilicas of Medieval Polis, Cyprus

Brenda J. Baker and Amy Papalexandrou

in Bioarchaeology and Behavior

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780813042299
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043449 | DOI:
A Bioarchaeological Perspective on the Burials and Basilicas of Medieval Polis, Cyprus

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A wealth of material attesting to life and death in ancient Marion (Roman Arsinoë) has been uncovered during two decades of excavation by Princeton University's Expedition to Polis Chrysochous, on the northwest coast of Cyprus. Burials are clustered in and around two early sixth-century basilicas situated within a small-scale urban context. One basilica was reused for burials from the 13th to 16th centuries, extending into the Venetian period. Comparison of mortuary evidence from both basilicas indicates various ways of accommodating the dead. Analysis of the skeletal remains indicates a population with generally good health but frequent skeletal evidence of trauma. In one Late Antique burial grooves and wear on the woman's incisors arose from drawing thread through them, indicating activity involving sewing or spinning. Muscle attachments and facet development on this woman's hand bones are consistent with occupational stress attributed to tailors, while alterations in the hips, legs, and feet indicate habitual kneeling, sitting, or squatting.

Keywords: Cyprus; Byzantine; Late Antique; Paleopathology; Mortuary practices

Chapter.  11650 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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