Paget's disease in pre-contact Florida? Revisiting the Briarwoods site in Gulf coast Florida

D. C. Pinto, S. D. Stout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This report presents results of a reanalysis addressing the presence of Paget's disease (Osteitis deformans) in the pre-contact Safety Harbour Briarwoods site (8PA66), a burial mound in Pasco County along Gulf coast Florida, dating around 1000-1500 AD. Due to the paucity of published histological and radiological analyses as well as the suspect nature of this Paget's disease report, a new study was conducted. The diagnosis was suspect for three reasons. First, the original diagnosis was based on five skeletal fragments from five different burials making the results questionable. Secondly, Paget's disease is very similar to treponemal disease and can possibly be misdiagnosed. The characteristic histological mosaic pattern found in Paget's disease provides the most definitive differential diagnosis. Thirdly, Paget's disease is found primarily in European populations and this is a pre-contact site. Histological sections from the suspected Pagetic bones were analysed for the presence of the mosaic pattern. Macroscopic and microscopic analyses were unable to support or deny the presence of Paget's disease due to the fragmentary nature of the skeletal elements as well as extensive diagenesis resulting from exposure to the environment. The presence of Paget's disease could not be confirmed or refuted at Briarwoods due to extensive taphonomic damage. However, it is suggested that the presence of treponemal disease should be investigated because although not originally reported, the presence of saber-shin tibiae consistent with this disease are present at this site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)572-578
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone histology
  • Briarwoods
  • Gulf coast Florida
  • Paget's disease
  • Treponemal disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology


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