[Publication] Assessing the physical and pathological traits of human skeletal remains from cemetery localities at the Rakhigarhi site of the Harappan Civilization


My paper, "Assessing the physical and pathological traits of human skeletal remains from cemetery localities at the Rakhigarhi site of the Harappan Civilization" is published in Anthropological Science (126(2): 111-120).

The Rakhigarhi site is the location of the ruins of an ancient megacity of the Harappan civilization and had not previously been investigated thoroughly. We tried to examine the physical and pathological traits of human skeletons (n = 37) from the cemetery at the site. In our study, a cranial index was calculated from one male skull (dolichocranic; index value = 65.78). The mean statures estimated by long bone length were 175.8 cm (male) and 166.1 cm (female). The indices of femoral diaphyseal shape were 79.8 (males) and 90.31 (females) for the platymeric index; and 113.78 (males) and 112.74 (female) for the pilasteric index. The dental health of the subjects appeared to be good as the overall prevalence of oral pathologies (caries and antemortem tooth loss) was generally low. Periosteal reactions were found in tibias and possible evidence of osteomyelitis was also observed in a femur. Some joint parts showed signs of osteoarthritis. Although various pathologies have been identified, we could not find any specific lesions suggestive of leprosy and tuberculosis in these skeletons. Although our study has added invaluable data to the existing information pool on the health and disease status of Harappan society, more accurate conjecture on the structure of Harrappan society based on bioarchaeological evidence will need additional research based on future excavations at Rakhigarhi cemetery.

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