„Extra locos sepulturae“ – Review about finds of newborns inside Roman settlements in present-day Switzerland

Kramis, Simon; Trancik Petitpierre, Viera (2014). „Extra locos sepulturae“ – Review about finds of newborns inside Roman settlements in present-day Switzerland. Bulletin der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Anthropologie, 20(2), pp. 5-26. Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Anthropologie

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Finds of remains of newborns inside Roman settlements are a widespread phenomenon in the Imperium Romanum, including presentday Switzerland. Since the publication of the last review article (Berger 1993) numerous new finds have been made. Therefore it seems important to summarize archaeological and anthropological parameters again, and to re-assess them collectively. During a literature review a total of 262 cases were collected. Similarities as well as differences in the funerary practices become evident. A combination of inhumation, single deposit/grave, and absence of grave goods is the least common denominator in the funerary treatment of individuals who died around the time of birth.
However, methods of classical physical anthropology are limited. Histological and biochemical methods are promising and may allow further statements in the future, e.g. with regard to the differentiation between live and still births. In order to evaluate possible correlations between archaeological and anthropological parameters, findings from settlements and cemeteries that are documented in situ as well as a sustainable theoretical framework are required.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of Archaeological Sciences > Pre- and Early History
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Anthropology

UniBE Contributor:

Kramis, Simon, Trancik Petitpierre, Viera


500 Science > 560 Fossils & prehistoric life
900 History > 930 History of ancient world (to ca. 499)
900 History > 940 History of Europe




Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Anthropologie




Sandra Lösch

Date Deposited:

25 Mar 2015 09:07

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:44

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Roman age, infanticide, newborn, neonate, perinate, infant, infant burial, settlement burial, deviant burial, funerary practices





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