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February 1955

PRE-COLUMBIAN OSSEOUS SYPHILIS: Skeletal Remains Found at Kinishba and Vandal Cave, Arizona, with Some Comments on Pertinent Literature

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Anthropology and The Arizona State Museum of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, and the Institute of Pathology. Western Reserve School of Medicine, and the Department of Dermatology and Syphilology, University Hospitals, Cleveland.

AMA Arch Derm. 1955;71(2):231-238. doi:10.1001/archderm.1955.01540260089019

THE to the pre-Columbian or post-Columbian origin of syphilis in America.1 In this particular instance, it is to be approached through studies made on comparatively recently excavated skeletons or parts of skeletons, 57 in number, from Kinishba and from Vandal Cave in Arizona.

Kinishba is situated in the White Mountains on the banks of an arroya in the White River valley near Fort Apache. At one time the village, or pueblo, consisted of 700 rooms and could have housed from 1,000 to 1,500 persons. Skeletons of the inhabitants were found in burial sites, in trash heaps ouside the rooms, in virgin soil, and in the floors of rooms. The area was systematically excavated by the Arizona State Museum, beginning in 1931. Vandal Cave was excavated under the direction of Dr. Emil W. Haury of the Department of Anthropology, University of Arizona, in

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