The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Ancient Arkansas: skeletal remains from the Isgrig South site


Anthropology, University of Arkansas

Thursday All day, Plaza Level Add to calendar

In the fall of 2007, the Arkansas Archeological Survey began salvage excavations south of the Little Rock Airport in the Little Rock Industrial Park on the pre-Columbian archeological site of Isgrig South. This site yielded twenty grave features with co-mingled and poorly preserved human remains. The remains were carefully cleaned to recover as much of the deteriorated skeletal material as possible.

The salvaged skeletal material yielded a minimum of twenty individuals. From the reliably sexed individuals, three were determined to be female, and four male. The individuals within this assemblage ranged in age from young children (5 years +/- 16 mo), to adults (35+). Based on the representation of all ages and both sexes, this does not appear to have been an exclusive cemetery.

Dental lesions were noted in multiple individuals, including seven individuals which exhibited linear enamel hypoplasia, six individuals with caries, and one alveolar abscess. Skeletal lesions which may be attributed to osteomyelitis, porotic hyperostosis of the parietal, and hypervascularization of the maxilla, which may indicate scurvy were also observed.

Isgrig South is extremely important to our limited understanding of the confusing Late Prehistoric time periods (1300-1650 AD) in the Little Rock area. Though this collection of skeletal and dental remains is small and fragmentary, these findings indicate that this population suffered hardship and infection.

Special thanks to the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resource Council for providing grant funding for this project

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