Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2023, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (04): 564-574.doi: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2023.0032

• Reviews • Previous Articles    

A research review of porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitalia of human skull

ZHAO Dongyue(), LI Haolu   

  1. School of Cultural Heritage, Northwest University, China-Central Asia Belt and Road Joint Laboratory on Human and Environment Research, Key Laboratory of Cultural Heritage Research and Conservation, Ministry of education, Xi’an 710069
  • Received:2022-04-15 Revised:2022-12-12 Online:2023-08-15 Published:2023-08-10


Cribra orbitalia and porotic hyperostosis are two of the most common pathological changes in ancient human bone unearthed from archaeological sites. These two traits are manifested as porous cranial lesions in the skull vault and orbital roof accompanied by dipolic thickening and outer table thinning. Over the past century, many scholars have conducted extensive research on these two traits that are related to anemia, scurvy, infectious disease, trauma, malnutrition, cultural behaviors, etc, and can reflect details of people’s diet, way of life, nutritional, health and medical status. Chinese attention to these two traits is relatively late, and there are few published monographs. However, there are many Chinese specimens that provide good research conditions for further extensive research. This paper reviews the discovery and naming, diagnosis and scale, etiology and pathogenesis of cribra orbitalia and porotic hyperostosis, as well as as well as the relationship between these two pathological phenomena.

Key words: Paleopathology, Cribra orbitalia

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