Back to All Events

October Program - Robert Ritzenthaler Chapter

  • Halsey Science Center 921 Elmwood Avenue Oshkosh, WI, 54901 United States (map)

October 2017 Program


Speaker: Lindsey Jo Helms Thorson, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Title: Using skeletal morphological data to track population change: The case of Ottoman expansion into eastern Adriatic Croatian territories during the 15th and 16 centuries

Abstract: Bosnia falls to the Ottomans in 1463, sparking an extended period of warfare with Croatia known as the Hundred Years’ Croatian-Ottoman War (1493-1593), which resulted in a drastic reduction of the Croatian populations and territories in the central and southern Adriatic regions. According to historic records, Croats were either murdered, captured, converted to Islam or were forcibly recruited into the Ottoman army under the Ottoman policy of devsirme (blood tax). Some managed to flee to the northwestern regions of Croatia or abroad to Austo-Hungary or Italy. The Ottoman policy of Sanjaks (forced migration) then repopulated the eastern Adriatic region with immigrants from the interior of the Balkan peninsula, mostly Vlachs (a pastoral people). It is hypothesized that these dramatic events resulted in enough change in the phenotypic features of the population that traditional skeletal biosistance techniques (multivariate statistical analyses) will identify differences between a pre-Ottoman and Ottoman period sample. Cranial and dental data have been recorded from three central Adriatic sites: a pre-Ottoman (medieval) skeletal cemetery Šibenik – Sv. Lovre (n=90), and two Ottoman period cemeteries Drinovci-Gredlje (n=22) and Koprivno-Križ (n=170).