A probable case of congenital syphilis from pre-Columbian Austria
Gaul, Johanna Sophia; Grossschmidt, Karl; Gusenbauer, Christian; Kanz, Fabian
This study examines the skeletal remains of a subadult from an archeological site in Austria. Radiocarbon dating and archeological attribution indicate that this individual is of pre-Columbian origin. Most of the skeleton was recovered, and only the teeth and the orbital roofs show changes. Dental defects such as the mulberry molar and a tapered, fang-like canine suggest a diagnosis of congenital syphilis. This is the first probable case of congenital syphilis from pre-Columbian Central Europe. Our findings contribute to the pre-Columbian theory, offering counterevidence to the assumption that syphilis was carried from Columbus' crew from the New to the Old World.