Mastoid osteoma in a prehispanic cranium (1390 A.D.) from Northern Chile

Mario Castro*, Marcos Goycoolea, Marcelo Galvez, Veronica Silva, Carlos Montoya, Jorge Fuentes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: Osteomas are slow-growing benign tumors that can affect the skull, most frequently the parietal and frontal. Temporal bone osteomas are more common in the external acoustic meatus and exceptional in the mastoid region. The rarity of mastoid osteomas is confirmed by the fact that very few cases have been reported in the clinical and paleopathological literature. The aim of this paper is to report a new paleopathological case of mastoid tumor in a Pre-Hispanic adult cranium. Materials: The skull derives from the Chunchuri (today Dupont-1 site) Pre-Hispanic site in Northern Chile (1390 A.D). Methods: Macroscopical examination and high-resolution tomography were used to assess the cranium. Results: The CT scan revealed a well demarcated lesion suggestive of a mastoid osteoma. Conclusions: This case adds new evidence regarding the antiquity of primary neoplasms in ancient populations and reinforces the importance of high resolution imaging in paleopathological research. Significance: Due to the antiquity of the remains this is probably the oldest reported case of mastoid osteoma. Limitations: The patrimonial nature of the remains did not allow histopathological studies. Suggestions for Further Research: Further intensive review of archeological skeletal collections is needed to better understand the epidemiology of neoplastic lesions in past populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-143
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Paleopathology
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Benign neoplasia-paleopathology
  • High-resolution CT
  • Temporal bone


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