Spondylolisthesis in an Etruscan Woman from Spina (Ferrara, Italy): an Iron Age Case Report.

Vanessa Samantha Manzon, Nicoletta Onisto, Emanuela Gualdi-Russo


Spondylolisthesis consists of the slippage of a vertebra in relation to the one beneath. It is caused by separation of the neural arch from the vertebral body (spondylolysis), and predominantly occurs at the isthmus (pars interarticularis). Originally thought to be a congenital anomaly, its strict correlation with certain activities that seem to exert stress on lower spine was later demonstrated.

This paper describes a case of progression of spondylolysis to spondylolisthesis found on an adult female skeleton from the Etruscan necropolis of Spina (Ferrara, Italy). The case in question was identified among 209 skeletons exhumed at Spina. As spondylolisthesis is strictly connected with activities that exert stress on lower spine, the evidence suggests that this woman  was engaged  in stressful physical activity,  perhaps related to the specific trade function of the site.


spondylolysis, isthmic spondylolisthesis, adult spondylolisthesis, stressful activity

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