Original paper

A possible “grinder” from Tell Arbid, Syria

Pitre, Mindy C.; Koliński, Rafał; Sołtysiak, Arkadiusz

Anthropologischer Anzeiger Volume 74 No. 4 (2017), p. 297 - 307

published: Dec 1, 2017
published online: Aug 17, 2017
manuscript accepted: Jun 12, 2017
manuscript revision received: May 25, 2017
manuscript revision requested: Sep 7, 2016
manuscript received: Jun 14, 2016

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP140007404003, Price: 29.00 €

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Abstract Cereal grinding has been practiced in Mesopotamia since the Upper Palaeolithic. While evidence of cereal grinding is clear from the archaeological and textual records, what remains unclear is whether the activity leaves signs on the skeleton in the form of markers of occupational stress (MOS). A particular constellation of MOS (e.g., osteoarthritis, traumatic injuries, and accessory articular facets) has previously been used to infer the habitual grinding of grain. These same MOS were recently observed in the skeleton of a female discovered in the Middle Bronze Age cemetery at Tell Arbid, NE Syria. Through differential diagnosis our results suggest that it remains problematic to identify grain-processing activities from the skeleton, even when a bioarchaeological approach is carried out.


Kneelinggrain preparationsaddle quernmarkers of occupational stressMiddle Bronze AgeMesopotamia