Tegulae and Teratoma Burial from Spain

On the periphery of our period of purview, but darned interesting is a story from LiveScience … here’s a bit in medias res:

[...] Archaeologists found the woman buried in a necropolis near Lleida in the Catalonia region of Spain. They only found a few artefacts buried with her: tiles known as tegulae that had been put over her body to form a gabled roof.

“Tegulae graves were the most common Roman burials. She was not an important or rich person. She had a low socio-economic status,” Armentano explained.

The researchers note in their paper that while it’s possible the woman never experienced symptoms, it’s also possible that, despite the tumor being benign, it ultimately killed her.

“This ovarian teratoma could have been the cause of this woman’s death, because sometimes the development of teratomas results in displacement and functional disturbances of adjacent organs,” the researchers write. They note that infection, hemolytic anemia and pregnancy complications can also occur with an ovarian teratoma, events that could also have caused the woman’s death.

The tumor would not have changed her outward appearance, and researchers can’t tell for certain what affect it had on her, Armentano explained.

“We suppose that, at least during a long part of her life, she was completely unaware of this tumor. Depending on the eventual complications, she could have suffered, but there” is no evidence of this, writes Armentano. “She could have died because of many other causes!”

Despite that uncertainty, historical records do indicate that this woman lived in a time period of great change. King’s College London Professor Peter Heather notes in his book “The Fall of the Roman Empire” (Oxford University Press, 2006) that, by A.D. 411, Spain had been divided between groups known as the Vandals, Suevi and Alans. [...]

via:

The original article has a number of photos … there’s also a slideshow of additional photos which, curiously, doesn’t seem to be linked to from the original article.

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