Differential diagnosis of a prehistoric biological object from the Koster (Illinois) site

Debra Komar, Jane E. Buikstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This paper details the differential diagnosis of a biological artifact recovered from a burial within the Koster Middle Archaic site in Illinois. The burial was excavated from the Middle Archaic 3, Helton Phase component (∼5800-4900 BP). The artifact was a calcified nodule of unequivocal biological origin recovered from the pelvic region of an adult (50+ years) female. Morphological and radiographic analysis of the object resulted in the consideration of 19 possible diagnoses; all but four could be eliminated. Possible interpretations of the object as a lithopaedion, calcified lymph node, amputated ovary or simple ovarian cyst are examined in detail. Of these, calcified lymph node or amputated ovary remain most probable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-164
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Dystrophic calcification
  • Koster site
  • Lithopaedion
  • Lymph node
  • Ovarian cyst
  • Ovary
  • Palaeopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology


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