Unilateral Congenital Aural Atresia from an Ychsma Group Burial at the Site of Pachacamac, Peruvian Central Coast
journal contributionposted on 2022-08-31, 14:45 authored by Lawrence S. Owens, Anna M. Davies-Barrett, Letisha M.C. Service
Congenital malformations of the human skeleton are a major area of palaeopathological and bioarchaeological interest, although our understanding of such conditions in the ancient world is hampered by their often extreme rarity, and inconsistent reporting in the field. A cranium from a group burial at the Peruvian site of Pachacamac was found to display almost complete absence of the right external auditory meatus, styloid process, vaginal process and tympanic plate of the right temporal bone. Following a differential diagnosis, it was determined that the skeletal pathology likely represents an instance of congenital aural atresia, a developmental anomaly resulting in the partial or complete aplasia of the external acoustic meatus. This condition is often associated with other congenital abnormalities and syndromes. However, as the postcranial remains of this individual could not be distinguished from other remains in the group burial, no further associated skeletal anomalies could be detected. This is the first instance of congenital aural atresia recovered from a defined funerary context in Peru, complementing other bioarchaeological reports of this rare congenital anomaly. The pathology of the condition is described, and compared with clinical and bioarchaeological data. The potential social implications concerning social attitudes of the Pachacamac population towards this individual are also considered, in reference to both historical and archaeological contexts.
CitationJournal of Bioanthropology, 2022, in press
Author affiliationSchool of Archaeology and Ancient History
- VoR (Version of Record)