12000-year-old prostate stones found in an ancient cemetery

Excavations of a prehistoric cemetery of Al Khiday, Sudan, revealed wallnut-size prostate stones, which were found in the pelvic area of an 12000-year-old burial of an adult male.

Prostate stone found in a burial (by Università di Padova)

The discovery was made during excavations in 2013, but only recently been published. The remains of the man who suffered from the condition, were discovered in one of 190 graves excavated by Italian and British archaeologists. The burials at the cemetery date to three different periods, from as early as pre-Mesolithic, 12000 years ago, to 2000 years ago. The individual with the prostate stones was found among 94 individuals from pre-Mesolithic. He was buried face-down as the majority of the burials from that period. This funerary rite is said to have been documented in such a high frequency at the necropolis that it rules out deviant burials and points to yet unidentified symbolic meaning.

The discovered prostate stones (by Università di Padova)

The stones were found between the pelvic bones and close to the lumbar vertebrae, suggesting the individual may have suffered from urinary bladder stones, which developed in the prostate. The stones were identified by their mineralogical composition, microstructure and scanning electron microscope imagery. The researchers also found bacterial imprints within the stones, possibly indicating active inflammation during the life of the individual. No other significant disease, apart from the prostate stones, was found in the remains of the individual. According to the archaeologists, the prostate stones are the oldest found so far in the archaeological record as previously an 8500-year-old bladder stone was found in the pelvis of an adult female buried in cave-tomb on the coast of Sicily.

(after Seeker & Università di Padova)

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