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An infant femur bearing cut marks from Roman Hambleden, England

Mays, S.; Robson-Brown, K.; Vincent, S.; Eyers, J.; King, H. and Roberts, A. (2014). An infant femur bearing cut marks from Roman Hambleden, England. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 24(1) pp. 111–115.

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A perinatal infant skeleton from the first–fourth century AD Roman villa site at Hambleden, England, shows what appear to be cut marks on the proximal part of the right femur. Gross, microscopic and micro-computed tomography evaluations suggest that they occurred perimortem and were probably caused by a non-serrated blade. The reason for the cuts is uncertain, but their location is consistent with the practice of embryotomy, as described in classical sources for obstructed labour due to a dead or dying foetus in a breech or leg presentation. If this interpretation is correct, this case represents a rare example of embryotomy in the palaeopathological record.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
ISSN: 1099-1212
Keywords: breech presentation; embryotomy; Hippocrates; micro-computed tomography; obstetrics; palaeopathology; Soranus
Academic Unit/Department: Arts > Classical Studies
Item ID: 33908
Depositing User: Helen King
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2012 09:01
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2014 13:13
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