Headshaping in Anatolia: A qualitative and quantitative research
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Several studies worldwide, by applying different methods, have investigated different aspects of intentional headshaping and, especially in the last decades, have tried to elaborate standardised quantitative analysis methods. Research in Anatolia instead, by morphoscopic approaches, have exclusively focused on severe cases of circular headshaping, mostly dated to the prehistoric periods, aiming at the identification of the most recurrent morphological cranial alterations as well as at suggesting shaping techniques or at hypothesizing reasons and meanings. Moreover, while almost all the existing studies have employed data of well-preserved skeletal materials from adult individuals, the fragmented status of the most ancient Anatolian skeletal remains as well as the presence of a high number of subadults for some chronological periods has led to propose an alternative approach for the investigation of this topic in this geographical context. In fact, although the high informative potentiality of subadult data, the incomplete cranial development of this age group makes quantitative investigations difficult. The present study, by the statistical analyses of metric and morphological data collected on both adults and subadults coming from ten different archaeological sites dated from the Neolithic to the Post-Medieval Age, has tried, for the first time, to identify morphological and metric alterations diagnostic of the different headshaping types identified in Anatolia as well as to shed light on the relationship between artificial cranial modification and the development of Wormian bones or metopism and pathological conditions such as craniosynostosis and Porotic Hyperostosis. Nevertheless, the most important contribution of the work is the elaboration of a quantitative method able to discriminate, with a high percentage of accuracy, between unmodified and circularly and tabularly shaped crania by the application, for the first time, of proportional metrics computed on data of both adults and subadults.