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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2012 Oct 30;26(20):2393-8. doi: 10.1002/rcm.6302.

The privileged burial of the Pava Pieve (Siena, 8th Century AD).

Author information

1
Center for Isotope Research on Cultural and Environmental Heritage (CIRCE), Second University of Naples Department of Environmental Science, Naples, Italy.

Abstract

RATIONALE:

The 6(th) archaeological excavation campaign performed at the 'Pieve di Pava' (San Giovanni d'Asso, Siena, Italy) unearthed a privileged stone burial of a single individual (US 2378), covered by a monolithic slab and placed in front of an altar. The skeletal remains of a young male (18-20 years old), not in anatomical connection, were found at the bottom floor of a tomb (160 cm long, 40 cm large and over 70 cm deep).

METHODS:

A multidisciplinary study has been carried out concerning that privileged bone burial. The study combines paleopathology studies, stable isotope palaeodietary reconstruction, radiocarbon dating and archaeological analyses.

RESULTS:

(14)  C dating of the skeleton revealed a date between 650 and 688 AD. Stable isotope analysis (δ(18) O, δ(13) C, δ(15) N) attested that he was probably a member of the local population, whose diet was rather rich in animal proteins. The paleopathological study diagnosed a case of acromesomelic dysplasia, a congenital anomaly with disproportion of the limbs. Archaeological evidence regarding the circular delimitation of the bones suggested that the skeleton was a secondary deposition, transported to the church in a sack.

CONCLUSIONS:

We argue that the relic was used for the re-consecration of the church, following the restoration work in the 8(th) century. We conclude that the skeleton belonged to an eminent personage (e.g., either the member of a local elite family or a saint).

PMID:
22976205
DOI:
10.1002/rcm.6302
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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