Turkish Journal of Veterinary & Animal Sciences




This study presents computed tomography (CT) and osteological observations of nuchal perforations in the Middle-Late Byzantine cattle skulls, unearthed from Yenikapı Metro and Marmaray excavations (ancient Theodosius harbour), İstanbul, Türkiye. 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 Yenikapı 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 Türkiye.


Nuchal perforation, cattle, paleopathology, Theodosius harbour, yenikapi

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