Towards Cilento to study bones!

This month I finally managed to reach one of my dear colleague in Cilento, to carry out the anthropological and paleopathological study of osteological remains recovered inside a crypt in the province of Salerno.

Ernesto dug this deposit in 2017, when we met on my first methane pipeline. At that time, he told me that there would be the opportunity for a study on osteological findings but he didn’t talk about it for a while.

This year he contacted me because he was writing the monograph dedicated to the restoration of the Convent and consequently it would have been very interesting to include the data on the osteological material found inside one of the crypts.

So after getting rid of the various commitments of work and the School of Specialization, I left, together with my partner of work and life Tommaso, for Cilento, where Ernesto and his family were waiting for us.

We stayed three days in total. During the first day we went to the Convent, where the boxes full of bones were waiting for us. Immediately the material was washed and left to dry, even though the damp weather was not very cooperative during this phase.

The second day the study began, where I proceeded with the division of the skeletal districts, the siding and the determination of the minimum number of individuals.

During this day I also determined the sex and age at death on the skulls and coxals that were preserved.

On the third day I focused my attention on pathologies, and although this sample was very fragmented and altered by the tafonomic agents, it has preserved very interesting case studies, which I will show you as soon as the monograph is published!

For this study I would like to thank Dr. Ernesto Bianco for the opportunity of this work and his family for the hospitality they offered us during our stay in Cilento. Furthermore, I would like to thank my very dear colleagues, Dr. Maria Cristina Serrangeli and Dr. Fiorella Bestetti for their valuable suggestions and Professor Robert Mann for advice in paleopathological analysis.

My first scientific article

Hi guys!

As you have already seen from Instagram stories and images posted on my profile, I am working on pipelines between Pavia and Lodi in Italy at the moment.

But today I would like to tell you about my University career and my first scientific article.
I am graduated in “Research, documentation and preservation of the archaeological heritage” at the University of Bologna, with a Master thesis entitled “Morphological and morphometric analysis of Torrener Bärenhöhle’s Paleolithic human tooth (Salzburg)” with Dr. Stefano Benazzi, getting the highest grade (110 cum laude).
At the beginning of my career I have focused my attention on the archaeological field. In fact I have dug in many places, most of them were Medieval sites, but I have dug too in a protohistoric site, the necropolis of Sinaw in the Sultanate of Oman.
After my return from Oman I have started my internship at the Anthropological Laboratory and in this period I have learned the basic skills for the study of human remains.
Later I have started the project of my Master thesis about morphological description and morphometric analyses of Torrener Bärenhöhle’s human tooth. During this period, I acquired solid knowledge of paleoanthropology and virtual anthropology as various digital techniques to analyse human remains. For the project of my thesis I have been in the Department of Human Evolution at the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, thanks to a scholarship I won, to segment fossils comparison sample.
After my graduation I have started to write the article about the thesis that was published on the Journal of Human Evolution in 2016.
The tooth was found in a cave near Salzburg called Torrener Bärenhöhle, located by an alpine guide in 1924. In the cave were found mainly animal bones belonging to Ursus spaleus, hence the name of the cave, in fact Bärenhöhle means cave bear. Most of this bones were manipulated by humans, for this reason this place was interpreted as a place for bear hunting.
The first publication of the tooth was in 1971, when the tooth was classified as Homo sapiens, but in 1991 Mr. Urbanek attributed it to Homo neanderthalensis for the material culture of the cave. The need to classify this tooth stems from these controversies.
In this contribution, I investigated the tooth from Torrener Bärenhöhle’s cave. This tooth was micro-CT scanned to digitally study its external and internal morphology, and sampled for AMS radiocarbon dating to establish its taxonomy and chronology.

For more read my article on this link and my poster.