Congratulations to Samantha Purchase, former BAP Master’s student supervised by Dr. Angela Lieverse, on the publication of her first paper as lead author!

The paper will appear in the September 2019 issue of the International Journal of Paleopathology, Volume 26, pages 22-26, and is now available online here!:

Title: An innovative method to visualise mastoiditis using a hand-held X-ray system

Authors: Samantha Purchase, Vladimir Bazaliiskii, Angela Lieverse


Objective: We explore the utility of using a hand-held X-ray system to diagnose mastoiditis in archaeological populations.
Materials: A sample (n=56) of hunter-fisher-gatherers from the Early Neolithic (8,000–7,000/6,800 cal. BP) Cis-Baikal cemetery of Shamanka II (Russia) were examined.
Methods: Images were taken medio-laterally, approximately 90° to a sensor temporarily affixed to the lateral surface of the mastoid process. Digital radiographs were analysed for signs of mastoiditis occurring pre- and/or post-puberty.
Results: Two thirds of individuals (39/56) exhibited evidence of mastoiditis. Chronic mastoiditis and chronic sinusitis co-occurred in 61.5% (24/39) of observable individuals.
Conclusions: This method was found to be an effective, convenient, and versatile non-destructive alternative to sectioning and traditional radiographic imaging.
Significance: This is the first project to adapt a hand-held X-ray system for imaging and diagnosis of mastoiditis and this approach encourages future analyses of this infection.
Limitations: The cost of the imaging system is limiting and there are few comparative images taken in the same plane.
Suggestions for further research: Further research should create a larger catalogue of comparative radiographs and assess the diagnostic potential of imaging the mastoid process to rather than imaging the entire pneumatized portion of the temporal bone.

Congratulations to Samantha!