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This is a cranial base tumour from an individual from medieval Fishergate, York.  We are in the process of trying to get a clear diagnosis as to what type it may be and would welcome any suggestions, especially individuals with expertise in this field.  We would like to thank York Archaeological Trust for allowing us to present this material.


The primary tumour is located on the endocranial surface of the sphenoid, directly above the sphenoidal sinuses. It measures 20.9mm anteroposterior x 38.8mm medial lateral and extends above the cortical surface for c. 11-12mm at its greatest.  The tumour is made up of smoothed, regularly patterned trabeculae and is integral with the surrounding cortical bone.  Anterior to the tumour, the roof of the ethmoid and the surrounding structures have enlarged vascular channels.   Secondarily, on the ectocranial surface, the sphenoidal sinuses are exposed through a mixture of post-mortem damage and bony erosion.  This destruction reveals extensive new bone formation within the sinuses consisting of large pillars of compact bone.  These new pillars and the surrounding cortical bone have a mixture of both bone destruction and new bone deposition.

Without histological analysis a definitive diagnosis cannot be established.  This does have the appearance of being an initially benign tumour that has become aggressive.


The whole of the endocranial surface has a sharp nodular contour, with multiple peaks and ridges occurring especially on the frontal and the temporal bones.