Ovarian tumour, with teeth and a bone fragment inside, found in a Roman-age skeleton
A team of researchers led by the UAB has found the first ancient remains of a calcified ovarian teratoma, in the pelvis of the skeleton of a woman from the Roman era.
The find confirms the presence in antiquity of this type of tumour – formed by the remains of tissues or organs, which are difficult to locate during the examination of ancient remains. Inside the small round mass, four teeth and a small piece of bone were found.
Teratomas are usually benign and contain remains of organic material, such as hair, teeth, bones and other tissues. There are no references in the literature to ovarian teratomas in ancient remains like those found in this study, led by the researcher Núria Armentano of the Biological Anthropology Unit of the UAB and published in the International Journal of Paleopathology.
The tumour in question is rounded in shape, with a wrinkled surface, of the same colour as the bones, about 43 mm long and 44 mm in diameter. It was found in the right-hand part of the pelvis of a woman of between 30 and 40 years of age and who lived around 1,600 years ago, and came from the Roman cemetery in the archaeological site of La Fogonussa (Lleida). A macroscopic examination and a scan revealed four teeth of anomalous morphology inside the tumour, two of which were adhering to the inside wall of the tumour, and a small bone fragment.
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Original article: Núria Armentano, Mercè Subirana, Albert Isidro, Oscar Escala, Assumpció Malgosa, An ovarian teratoma of late Roman age, International Journal of Paleopathology, Volume 2, Issue 4, December 2012, Pages 236-239, ISSN 1879-9817, 10.1016/j.ijpp.2012.11.003.