Radiographic evaluation of two early classic elites from Copan, Honduras

K. C. Nystrom, J. E. Buikstra, E. M. Braunstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The paper describes the results of a radiographic evaluation of two elite individuals from the Early Classic period of Copan, Honduras; K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo', founder of the Early Classic Dynasty at Copan; and the principal individual recovered from the Motmot tomb. There were two primary goals: (1) the description of previously undocumented pathological processes; and (2) the evaluation of individual-specific forms of pathology and activity-related changes such as disuse atrophy. Despite suffering from a number of blunt force insults, K'inich Yax K'uk'Mo's cortical and trabecular bone thickness appears normal, indicating that the skeletal elements did not suffer from disuse atrophy concomitant following injury. Additionally, we examined the Motmot individual for: (1) evidence of bone thinning, either associated with reduced activity levels or pathology; (2) evidence of a parry fracture to her right forearm; and (3) the evaluation of a possible fracture to the right humerus near the surgical neck. In sum, despite her gracile appearance, we concluded that Motmot did not suffer from cortical bone thinning due to disease process or reduced activity levels, and that the right forearm parry fracture was the only sign of blunt force trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-207
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Blunt force trauma
  • Copan
  • Palaeoradiography
  • Polaroid film

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology


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