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H 276 x W 203 mm

52 pages

33 figures, 5 graphs (27 plates presented in full colour)

Published Apr 2019

Archaeopress Access Archaeology


Paperback: 9781789692129

Digital: 9781789692136

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Thasos; Styrax; Execution; interdisciplinary; forensic archaeology; bioarchaeology

Execution by Styrax in Ancient Thasos

By Anagnostis P. Agelarakis

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This essay presents a unique forensic / bioarchaeological investigation of the traumatised remains of an older male from Thasos, exploring the nature of the executing weapon reconstructed in bronze, the archaeometry on the trajectory and factors of speed and force at the deliverance of the deadly strike.



Introduction; Archaeo-anthropological research in Thasos island; Aspects of the human condition decoded through analysis of the osteological record; Palaeopathological differential diagnosis: Not a sternal foramen; Identification and reproduction of the weapon type and component which was used to pierce through the corpus sterni; The anatomic consequences of the trauma impact by the thrusting of the styrax into the mediastinum, and assessment on the cause of death; Experimental archaeometry through Physics, testing for data relevant to a styrax thrusting into the thorax; Trauma interpretation and discussion of causes for the execution of the Thasian; Epilogue

About the Author

ANAGNOSTIS P. AGELARAKIS is Professor of Anthropology at Adelphi University in New York. He studied Classical Archaeology and European Ethnology as an undergraduate, and as graduate Environmental Studies at Lund University and Lund Polytechnic Institute in Sweden. He holds a M. Phil. and Ph.D. (1989) in Anthropology from Columbia University, New York. In the earlier years of his career, he carried out field and/or lab archaeo-anthropological research projects focusing on the organizational abilities, capacities, and adaptations of the human condition during the Holocene in SE and SW Asia, the Middle East, the American Northeast, and the Caribbean. The central area of his research remains however the Eastern Mediterranean with emphasis on the ancient world of the Greeks, at the cross roads and sea routes between Africa, Asia, and Europe. Under the domains of Anthropological Archaeology, Funerary Archaeology, Bio-Archaeology and Forensics he studies the biological profiles, the demographic dynmics, and palaeopathological records of human skeletal populations from prehistoric periods to the late medieval era. Based on the skeletal record, he investigates issues relative to the changing dynamics in ancient warfare, the developments of the art of medicine particularly as it related to battle trauma surgery and healing regimens, as well as aspects on the decipherment of kinetic and occupational changes permanently recorded on bones and teeth. Further, he searches through archaeological anthropology for evidence that may fine-tune our knowledge on gender roles, and of the decorum and symbolism of burial customs and practices, always considering and juxtaposing where available with literary and historic records, as well as the rest of the archaeological record.