The items below are the reports generated through the Index of Care. The reports are the property of the authors and they should be contacted for any feedback, discussion or further dissemination.

Romito 2

The paper ‘Accommodating difference in the prehistoric past: revisiting the case of Romito 2 from a bioarchaeology of care perspective’ was prepared using the Index of Care for the Paleopathology Association meeting in Canada (8-9 April 2014). Reports from Index Steps 1-4 generated in this process will be uploaded here (as an example of how the Index of Care works in practice) after the conference presentation and on return to Australia. The abstract of the paper is reproduced below.


The remains of Romito 2, a male of around 17 years, were recovered from a mortuary context in southern Italy and date to ~11,000BP. Skeletal evidence indicates Romito 2 was born with a chondrodystrophic dwarfism (acromosomelic dysplasia), resulting in upper and lower limb abnormalities limiting potential participation in economic (and possibly social) activities normal for one of his cohort. Cranial anomalies and early childhood developmental delays would also have distinguished him from his peers. In 1987 Frayer et al. first described Romito 2, suggesting that his survival to age at death suggested community tolerance and support. In 1991 Dettwyler vigorously critiqued this conclusion, and in an interview ten years later (Bower 2002) Frayer retracted the original claim of care. This presentation argues that Frayer et al. (1987, 1988) were right in the first place, and that Romito 2’s survival reflects community caregiving in the form of ‘accommodation of difference’. Romito 2 and his lifeways are revisited from a bioarchaeology of care (Tilley 2012) perspective, using the Index of Care - a recently developed instrument designed to assist bioarchaeological research into health-related care provision. The presentation has two goals: firstly, to demonstrate that there is a valid basis for inferring receipt of care by Romito 2 and that this finding contributes to the understanding of practice in the Italian Epi-Gravettian; and secondly, to illustrate how application of the Index of Care can add value to a bioarchaeology of care analysis.


Bower, B. 2002 Care-worn fossils: bones reopen controversy about ancient assistance. Science News 162:328-330.
Dettwyler, K.A. 1991 Can paleopathology provide evidence for “compassion”? American Journal of Physical Anthropology 84:375-384.
Frayer, D.W., Horton, W.A., Macchiarelli, R. and Mussi, M. 1987 Dwarfism in an adolescent from the Italian late Upper Palaeolithic. Nature 330:60-62.
Frayer, D.W., Macchiarelli, R. and Mussi, M. 1988 A case of chondrodystrophic dwarfism in the Italian late Upper Palaeolithic. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 75:549-565.
Tilley, L. 2012 The bioarchaeology of care. the archaeological record 12:39-41.

Author: Lorna Tilley
Report: Final Report on Romito 2