12th19th century craniological remnants from the Central Caucasus region

Pugacheva E.V. (Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation)


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This paper presents the analysis of a craniological series from the Republic of Ingushetia (Lezhg, Jegikal villages), South Ossetia (Verhnij Rokk, Verhnej Erman, Srednij Erman villages) and the Chechen Republic (Staraja Sunzha village) conducted using modern morphologic methods. The research is based on craniological materials from the MAE RAS (Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences) collections that were gathered and described by V.V. Bunak in 1953. At that time, V.V. Bunak examined the material from the standpoint of the typological approach, giving great importance to the relative value of the cranial index. Therefore, it seems relevant to study the material within the framework of the population approach using modern me-thods. The aim of this paper is to classify the morphological characteristics of the Caucasian anthropological type using samples from two neighbouring groups (Ossetian and Ingush ones), which are analysed by two different methodologies. At the first stage, skulls were measured by a standard craniometric program. Subsequently, the obtained data was analysed by classical statistical methods (Mann Whitney U test, Principal component analysis, Canonical discriminant analysis). At the second stage, the methods of geometric morphometry were applied for comparing the Procrustean distances by the principal component method (intragroup analysis) and the canonical discriminant analysis (intergroup analysis). The results of the geometric morphometry analysis have allowed us to trace the non-linear variation of the facial part of the skulls. The results obtained at both analytical stages have shown a good agreement. It is concluded that female groups are morphologically close to each other. Male groups show similarities between the Ingush and Ossetian materials. The craniological series from Staraya Sunzha is shown to be unique. Therefore, the majority of the craniological types identified by V.V. Bunak have not been confirmed by modern analytical methods, with the only exception being the male group from Staraya Sunzha.


Key words: Physical anthropology, craniology, Caucasus, geometric morphometrics, burial vault.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2018-42-3-072-078




E.V. Pugacheva

Saint-Petersburg State University, Universitetskaya nab., 79, Saint-Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation