SKELETAL EVIDENCE OF STRESS IN SUBADULTS: TRYING TO COME OF AGE AT GRASSHOPPER PUEBLO (ARIZONA).
AuthorHINKES, MADELEINE JOYCE.
KeywordsIndians of North America -- Arizona -- Antiquities.
Grasshopper Pueblo (Ariz.) -- Antiquities.
Indians of North America -- Anthropometry -- Arizona.
Arizona -- Antiquities.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe human skeletal remains from Grasshopper Ruin, Arizona, constitute an excellent series for the study of growth and development. A total of 390 subadults, fetal through 18 years of age, have been recovered, in a mortality distribution comparable to that observed in most anthropological populations. Children are extremely sensitive to metabolic upsets during the growth process, and an individual's history of illness is often recorded in his bones and teeth. This research is concerned with reading this record and developing a picture of the biological quality of life during pueblo occupation. On the whole, incidence of skeletal stress markers is low. Just 145 children have one or more markers, indicating a low disease load for the subadult community. Based on ethnographic and clinical records of disease among Southwestern Indians, it is believed that most children without visible stress markers were victims of common and virulent gastrointestinal and upper respiratory infections. Those children with stress markers appear to have been subject to underlying morbid conditions (parasitism, dietary deficiencies) which would have intensified the effects of infectious diseases. In order to determine whether a particular sector of the community was at greater risk, the skeletal sample is partitioned into temporal and spatial groups. The impetus for this analysis derives from a long-standing archaeological research focus: the factors precipitating abandonment. Most evidence points to an environmental change and subsequent shortfall in the normal food supply. Behavioral responses to this stress have been documented, but until this research, no direct measure of the effect on pueblo inhabitants had been devised. Differences in stress marker frequency among temporal groups reveal no clear pattern. When spatial groups are analyzed, children from outliers are found to have significantly greater prevalence of Harris lines, implying a pervasive, recurring stress. These findings are interpreted in light of the unique temporal and spatial placement of outliers, and are believed to be due to a combination of factors including depletion of resources, differential access to resources, and increasing contamination of site environs.