What can we make of these fragments? Excavation at 'Mamilla' cave, Byzantine period, Jerusalem

Yossi Nagar, Cecil Taitz, Ronny Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports on the pathology and discrete traits of 1388 vertebrae uncovered from a mass burial site at 'Mamilla' cave, Jerusalem, dated to the Byzantine period. Observations of the vertebrae were aimed at reconstructing an anthropological profile of the population, by describing such factors as the frequency of pathology and discrete traits, and age at death of the population. The results show that most of the victims were relatively young, and that they differed significantly in their epigenetic traits from Jews and nomadic Arabs. The results reinforce earlier assumptions that the skeletal material excavated at Mamilla cave represents the Christian population of the city, massacred by the Persians in 614 AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Byzantine Israel
  • Paleopathology
  • Skeletal population
  • Vertebrae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology


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