Pererva E.V., Krivosheev M.V.

Nomads of the Lower Volga Region in the second half of the 3rd 4th c. AD based on bioarchaeological data

This paper represents an attempt to conduct a bioarchaeological study of the anthropological materials of the Late Sarmatian period from burials of the late 3rd 4th c. AD in the Lower Volga Region. The examined group consisted of osteological remains of 24 individuals. The standard assessment program of skeletal pathological conditions and univariate and multivariate statistics methods were applied. The study has shown that the series from the late 3rd 4th c. AD nomadic burials of the Lower Volga Region is generally compatible with the Sarmatian group of the late 2nd early 3rd c. AD and that of the late Sarmatian time. Yet, there are identifiable differences in the late group, which must be related to negative factors associated with the environmental changes during that period.

Key words: Late Sarmatian culture, chronological periods, stress markers, pathology, enamel hypoplasia, porotic hyperostosis.


Syutkina T.A., Galeev R.M.

Digital Copies for Anthropological Research: Virtual Models and Databases

In the last two decades, a large number of anthropological papers have been focused on digital copies of palaeoanthropological materials rather than original skeletal remains. According to some foreign scholars, “virtual anthropology” has taken a shape of a separate field of anthropological science. One of the main advantages of “virtual anthropology” is the possibility to develop databases, datasets, digital collections and catalogues accessible to the scientific community worldwide. Digitization of research objects facilitates organizational side of studies, provides access to wider data, expands the toolkit of available research methods, and also provides safety to the original materials. At the same time, the variability of types of virtual models along with the absence of generally accepted protocols complicate verification of morphometric and structures data. The main goal of this review paper is to structure the available information on virtual palaeoanthropological databases and the materials they contain. 3D-scanning technologies can be generally divided into surface scanning (including photogrammetry) and tomographic scanning. The first group of technologies provide 3D models of the shape of an object, accurate enough to be used in morphometric studies if resolution of the equipment is adequate for the size of the object and aims of the study. The second group is designed to scan the whole form of an object, which allows the examination of its internal structures or tissues, small surface structures or dental material. Both methods have their strengths and weaknesses: while surface scans are cheaper and easier to obtain, CT scans provide information unavailable from the former technique. Assessment of qualitative and quantitative characteristics of digital copies depends on objectives of the study. The article provides an overview of 17 databases of virtual paleoanthropological models, which comprise either surface or CT scans, or both. These materials can be used in various fields of study, including human evolution, primatology, palaeoanthropology, palaeopathology, forensic science, human anatomy, as well as in teaching of these subjects. For each collection, approximate number of objects and terms of use have been specified.

Key words: virtual anthropology, surface scanning, computed tomography, microtomography, photogrammetry, digital databases.


Khudaverdyan A.Yu., Yengibaryan A.A.,  Matevosyan R.Sh., Alekhanyan N.G., Khachatryan A.A.

Physical type of the Armenian Highlands populations in antiquity (based on osteometrical materials from urban and rural settlements)

The paper is concerned with the analysis of osteometrical data from the antique populations of the Armenian Highlands, i.e. anthropological materials of burials dated to the 1st–3rd c. AD. We analyse the differences in anthropological characteristics between urban and rural population of Armenia in antiquity. In total, 78 individuals of both sexes have been examined using traditional osteological methods. The study involved visual examination of the skeletons, images, descriptions and radiography. For the intergroup comparison, canonical analysis based on the averaged intergroup correlation matrix was used [Deryabin, 1983]. Visually, bones of the villagers appear to be more massive and quite elevated. Men, buried in rural areas differ from those from urban environments in smaller longitudinal dimensions of humerus, radius and ulna, and in larger icircumference of humerus, ulna and femur. Analysis of the data shows that the studied groups carry some features characteristic for populations adapted to high-altitude environments. Intergroup analysis suggests that the closest to the urban male groups would be the Maeotian population from the eastern coast of the Sea of Azov. The female part of the urban community is close to the population of the first centuries AD from Gurmiron. Male villagers show similar features to those of Scythians of Ukraine (Scythian Neapolis); villagers are morphologically close to groups of Sarmatian cultures of the Lower Volga Region. Indirectly, this observation confirms the fact of stable, continuous migration flow into the territory of the Armenian Highlands. There is a certain agreement in the differentiation pattern of the ancient Armenian Highland population from the osteometric and craniometrics data. The osteometric data can be a rather important source of information for reconstruction of biological affinities of human populations.

Key words: Armenia, Antiquity period, osteology, urban and rural population.