Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (02): 248-260.doi: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2021.0033

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Possible rheumatoid arthritis found in a human sacrifice skeleton from the Eastern Zhou tomb of Songzhuang village, Qi county, Henan province

SUN Lei()   

  1. Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Zhengzhou 450099
  • Received:2020-05-05 Revised:2021-01-13 Online:2022-04-15 Published:2022-04-13


The purpose of this study is to describe and analyze the evidence for rheumatoid arthritis in a sample of human sacrifice skeleton uncovered from a noble tomb of eastern Zhou period at Qixian Songzhuang cemetery in Henan Province. The human sacrifice is characterized by numerous symmetrical surface erosions in the joints of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand, hip, knee, ankle, and foot. Radiographs revealed that osteoporosis was evident in the joints with erosions. The possibility of seronegative spondyloarthropathies cannot be completely ruled out due to the lack of preservation of all the vertebrae and both sacroiliac joints. However, by comparing the major differential signs for diagnosing various joint diseases, rheumatoid arthritis is suggested as the most probable cause of this pathology in the human sacrifice skeleton.

Key words: Rheumatoid arthritis, Erosion, Qixian, Eastern Zhou Tomb, Human sacrifice

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