Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department of Sociology and Anthropology: Archaeology
Maria O. Smith
The intensive agricultural subsistence strategy of late pre-Columbian populations of North America has long been associated with chronic nutritional and disease stress as a consequence of episodic or recurring agricultural shortfall and the compromised community health of aggregate village settlement. Social stratification, defined archaeologically by burial location and grave goods, is thought to be a primary force in shaping different health patterns within these communities.
This study is a bioarchaeological review of the Dallas phase (AD1300-1550) skeletal collection from Hiwassee Island in east Tennessee. The purpose is to gain an understanding of community health and to explore status-related differences in the levels of health between mound and village interments. Pathological analysis was conducted on 175 individuals for evidence of anemia in the form of cribra orbitalia and porotic hyperostosis, infection represented by periostitis and osteomyelitis, and childhood physiological stress as indicated by linear enamel hypoplasis. Metric analyses were also preformed as an indicator of chronic poor health among subadults (<18 >years) and the relationship between limb length and proportionality and adult mortality and morbidity was explored.
Results indicate anemia to be endemic to the community and physiological stress around the ages of 3 to 4 years to be common. Also, differential patterns of stress were evident between mound and village units and males exhibited poorer health than females. Hiwassee subadults exhibited shorter and slower growth and development than the comparative sample. No correlations could be made between long bone lengths and proportions and adult mortality or morbidity. However, a relationship between childhood physiological stress and adult mortality was found.
Pardo, Cassandra, "Health and Disease on Hiwassee Island: A Study of Late-Mississippian Human Remains" (2011). Theses and Dissertations. 1716.