Entheseal changes

Activity patterns and habitual physical stress can be observed in the attachment sites of muscles that are in specific places along the bone surfaces, and these roughened areas are called enthuses (Villotte and Knusel 2013). The raised and roughened areas serve to anchor tendons and ligaments to the bone and to stabilize habitual or chronically stressful movement. Entheses can be observed in degrees (none to slight, moderate, and severe expressions) along the attachment sites of major long bones to assess how much mechanical loading was being done over the course of the lifetime prior to death.

There is increasingly an understanding of how these data can be interpreted. There is a general understanding of the importance of interpreting entheseal changes within a careful framework that takes into account the age and sex of the individual under study (Milella et al. 2011; 2012). With this developing understanding of how best to interpret this line of data, new methodologies have been published in a special issue of the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology by Henderson and Alves Cardosa (2013).

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