College of American Pathologists

  News Release


Published on February 18, 2013

Contact: Joe Schramm
Phone: 800-323-4040, ext. 7445


NORTHFIELD, ILL. —The College of American Pathologists’ (CAP) has released its newest publication, Atlas of Paleopathology: Autopsies in South American Mummies, a synthesis of more than 40 years of excavating and examining mummified remains. Paleopathology combines knowledge from the fields of archeology, anthropology, and pathology.

The atlas’ numerous images represent a multidisciplinary study comprising pathologists, anthropologists, and archaeologists investigating pre-Colombian civilizations from the regions that are today Peru and Chile. The National Geographic Society launched the work. It was later assumed by the Department of Pathology at the Medical College of Virginia Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.

“One of the most significant findings in our work was that tuberculosis, long believed to have originated in Europe, was prevalent long before the arrival of the Spanish,” said Enrique Gerszten, MD, FCAP, emeritus professor of pathology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical College of Virginia Campus. “We were able to document the tubercle bacilli in both soft tissues and bones.”

The atlas covers the following topics:

  • Mummies and artifacts
  • Diseases of the skeletal system
  • Diseases of soft tissues
  • Tumors
  • Intentional cranial deformation
  • Paleoneuropathology and trephination.

Along with Dr. Gerszten, the atlas’s other authors include:

  • Marvin J. Allison, PhD, emeritus professor of pathology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical College of Virginia Campus
  • Brianna E. Maguire, BS, graduate student in biological anthropology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces
  • Peter C. Gerszten, MD, MPH, FACS, professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

For more information and to order a copy of the Atlas of Paleopathology, visit or call 800-323-4040, option 1.

About the College of American Pathologists
The College of American Pathologists (CAP) is a medical society with more than 18,000 physician members who specialize in diagnosing disease and it is the worldwide leader in laboratory quality assurance, celebrating more than 50 years as the gold standard in laboratory accreditation. The CAP is the world’s largest organization composed exclusively of board-certified pathologists. The CAP advocates accountable, high-quality, and cost-effective patient care. The CAP was recognized by the Chicago Tribune as one of the city’s 2012 Top Workplaces. More information about the CAP can be found at