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

Understanding how sex and pathology affected frailty during the Amarna Period (BC 1351-1334)


Department of Anthropology, University of Arkansas

Thursday All day, Plaza Level Add to calendar

The motives behind Akhenaten’s relocation of the religious and political capitals in Egypt to a remote and untouched stretch of desert during the early years of his reign are not well understood. Excavations of the South Tombs Cemetery since 2006 have provided a detailed look into the lives of the inhabitants that were uprooted and thrust into a challenging new habitat. The application of transition analysis has since revealed a mortality pattern that does not correspond to normal attritional models. The purpose of this study is to further investigate the differences in frailty between sexes. The sex ratio is divergent from a stable population, with females dying more frequently than males (1.24:1). This finding suggests that some factor contributes to an increased risk of death among females in the sample. Examination of the differential risks of dying at Amarna used a proportional hazards model to test how different pathological conditions (cribra orbitalia, porotic hyperostosis, and periostitis) affected the risk of death for men and women. A Likelihood Ratio Test (p<0.001) confirms the notion that non-specific indicators of stress created an unequal risk of death between men and women. However, an examination of burial treatments and patterns among males and females show no major variations. The results of this study show that unique factors affected the frailty of men and women in different periods of their lives, but ancient understanding of these factors may not have been perceived and, thus, did not influence burial treatments.

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