Paleopathology in Pamdom, Patakfalva: A Case Study of Cribra Orbitalia in a Non-Adult From The Székelyföld


  • Sarah Kelly University of British Columbia


This research represents a case study of a single non-adult skeleton (SIR 542) recovered from Pamdom, Patakfalkva. The Papdomb (Romanian: Văleni) archeological site denotes a medieval church and its associated cemetery in Văleni, Hagrita County, Romania.(See Fig. 1 in Appendix). This research represents a case study of one of over 661 graves excavated at this site. (Zeidlik et al.). SIR 542 is a non-adult,1 2-3-year-old skeleton from the associated graveyard with cribra orbitalia, a recognized paleopathology. Understanding this paleopathology (the physical or mental conditions observed in the skeletal record) deepens our understanding of the interactions between the biological and social realities of past peoples. This research uses modern American bioarchaeological methods in excavation and analysis to shed light on the biocultural lives of historical Székely peoples. This case study aims to add a complementary paleopathological perspective to the rich historical record maintained by historians and keepers of oral Székely narratives.


This work would have been impossible without the support and knowledge of Dr. Bethard, the field team director Katie K, museum director and descendant community member Nyaradi Zsolt, my research peers, the Haáz Rezső Múzeum in Odorheiu Secuiesc (Székelyudvarley) and Archaeotek for allowing me to study the materials discussed within this article. Further, I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the Székely community in Pamdom and Transylvania at large. I appreciate the trust that they have given me in working with their ancestors. As the Székely community is a Hungarian-speaking community, I have used the Hungarian names of locations, despite these sites being located in what is now Romania.