Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

Anthropology, MA

Committee Chair

Crespo, Fabian

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Jennings, Thomas

Committee Member

Jennings, Thomas

Committee Member

Roth, Nicole

Author's Keywords

Ward; porosity; anemia; cribra; hyperostosis; paleodemography; porotic


Osteological observations interpreted as evidence for anemia (porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitalia) have been used to interpret health and diet of past populations. These observations have contributed significantly to arguments that a deterioration of human health over time can be attributed to the adoption of agricultural subsistence practices and increased settlement aggregation. This study utilized a sample (n=110) from the Ward site (15Mcl11), a pre-agricultural, fisher-hunter-gatherer cemetery site dated to the Archaic Period in Kentucky, a part of the Shell Midden Archaic cultural complex. The impact of porotic alteration on differential mortality was assessed using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. The Ward sample exhibited high incidence of porotic alteration (n=90). Survival curves illustrated reduced survival for children exhibiting cribra orbitalia, but limited measureable impact of porotic hyperostosis on adult mortality. These results suggest that the selective pressure imposed by porotic hyperostosis might be inextricable from that of other variables influencing mortality.