Computed tomography and osteological examination of the nuchal perforations in Byzantine cattle skulls

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ONAR V., Chroszcz A., Poradowski D., GEZER İNCE N., Polat M. A., Asal R.

TURKISH JOURNAL OF VETERINARY & ANIMAL SCIENCES, vol.46, no.5, pp.764-778, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 46 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.55730/1300-0128.4251
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Veterinary Science Database, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.764-778
  • Keywords: Nuchal perforation, cattle, paleopathology, Theodosius harbour, yenikapi, THEODOSIUS HARBOR, YENIKAPI, MARSHES
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


This study presents computed tomography (CT) and osteological observations of nuchal perforations in the Middle-Late Byzantine cattle skulls, unearthed from Yenikapi Metro and Marmaray excavations (ancient Theodosius harbour), Istanbul, Turkiye. A total of 17 skulls with perforations of various size, ranging from elliptical to triangular, located in the nuchal (posterior) region of protuberantia intercornualis were examined. Rounded edges and smooth inner walls of these perforations indicated that they were formed when the animals were alive (ante mortem). The CT helped to understand the details of the caudal and dorsal part of head as well as the relationships between these perforations and other cranial structures. The osteological evidence and possible causes of the nuchal perforations were discussed. The animal age and sex were also taken under consideration. The study provided the archaeological proof that the cattle from Yenikapi Metro and Marmaray were used as draught animals; as it appears, the nuchal perforations resulted from the yoke strikes. This is, by far, the first attempt of using the CT to analyse the nuchal perforations in cattle skulls unearthed from any archaeological site in Turkiye.