1Archaeology, University of Calgary, 2Mechanical Engineering, University of Calgary, 3Archaeology and Ethnography, Irkutsk State University
Thursday All day, Plaza Level
This research tests the ability of microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) to detect three dimensional age-related changes in the cortical canal structure of archaeological femora. Samples, derived from middle Holocene Cis-Baikal hunter-gatherer-fishers (n=90), were scanned, and seven variables were analysed. Results for the pooled sample produced trends similar to those detected in a modern sample. Canal number and separation differed among adolescents and young adults when compared with middle and old adults (ANCOVA and ANOVA, p<0.05). Males and females displayed differences in age-related trends for canal number, separation, diameter, and canal surface to canal volume. For males, canal number and separation remained significantly different between young and old adults (ANOVA, p<0.05). In females, however, significant differences were found for canal diameter and canal surface to canal volume, when comparing adolescents to young and old adults (ANOVA, p<0.05). Differences between the sexes were also found for canal number and canal separation (t-test, p<0.05), with females maintaining larger canals with less distance between them.
Micro-CT proved successful in detecting age-related cortical canal changes in prehistoric femora. Significant differences were identified between age-at-death categories, which appeared to be associated with the transition into middle adulthood. Differences between the sexes, in trends and the variables identified as significant, were likely physiologically-based, although the possibility of an activity-based component exists. Ultimately, micro-CT provides a new and compelling avenue for detecting age- and sex- related changes in cortical microstructure, allowing novel insight into bone quality in past populations.
This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, MCRI No.s 412-2000-28, 412-2005-1004.