Anat Biol Anthropol.  2019 Jun;32(2):69-75. 10.11637/aba.2019.32.2.69.

A Case Study of the Fetal Skeleton from a Joseon Period Cemetery

Affiliations
  • 1Department of History, College of Liberal Arts, Sejong University, Korea. redqin@sejong.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Anthropology, College of Social Sciences, Seoul National University & ROK MND MAKRI Identification Center, Korea.

Abstract

In this study, the case of the burial of a couple with their perinatal child in a cemetery from the Joseon period (Eunpyeong site) of South Korea was examined. In archaeological populations, high mortality rates of young females are often associated with problems related to pregnancy and childbirth. However, discoveries of pregnant women and fetal skeletons are very rare in archaeological research. Here, we report the case of a burial of a pregnant female and her perinatal child from a Joseon period cemetery site. The gestational age of fetus was estimated to be between 8.5 months and 9.5 months based on the cranial size and long bone length. The pregnant female under study appears to have died with fetal remains in utero. An examination of this case did not provide evidence that stress of obstetrical event was the direct cause of death. The rare case presented here makes a valuable contribution to the literature on pregnancy and obstetrical issues in past populations.

Keyword

Fetus; Childbirth; Gestational age; Archaeological site; Burial site

MeSH Terms

Burial
Cause of Death
Cemeteries*
Child
Female
Fetus
Gestational Age
Humans
Korea
Mortality
Parturition
Pregnancy
Pregnant Women
Skeleton*
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