Virtual reconstitution and new palaeopathological study of the Magdalenian child's skull of Rochereil

Bertrand MAFART, Gaspard GUIPERT, Camille ALLIEZ-PHILIP & Jean-Jacques BRAU

en Comptes Rendus Palevol 6 (8) - Pages 569-579

Published on 31 December 2007

A fragmented skull of a child aged between two and four years was discovered within a Magdalenian level (11255 ± 50 BP, OxA-16932) in the cave of Rochereil in the Dordogne département, France. The presence of a lacuna in the frontal bone and the general appearance of the skull had led to the conclusion of a postmortem trepanation of one hydrocephalous child. Examination of the tables and of the diploe and, by means of electron microscopy, of the edges shows that the frontal lacuna is a pathological lesion and not a trepanation. Several dysmorphic and dysplasic lesions of deciduous teeth are associated. The virtual three-dimensional reconstruction of the cerebral skull rules out the previous diagnosis of hydrocephaly. The only tenable diagnosis is macrocrania. Numerous aetiologies can be cautiously evoked for the large cranial lacuna and the associated dysmorphic lesions, but no conclusive diagnosis can be put forward for this insulated skull.


Palaeopathology, 3D imaging, Magdalenian, Skull, Child, Tumour, Hydrocephaly

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