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

Bioarchaeological analysis of the Miami One 8DA11 skeletal remains: a glimpse into the population’s past health and population structure


Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida

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Little is known about Florida prehistoric populations through the use of skeletal data. Heretofore, documented archaeological and osteological analyses have focused on Contact period populations. The Miami One site (8DA11) provides an opportunity to review one of the largest and oldest ossuaries in the USA, and through bioarchaeological analyses provide insight into the population structure, history and health of a Floridian Native American group.

The purpose of this paper is to analyze paleo-epidemiology and paleo-demography for feature 222 dating from the Archaic to Glades II (1000 BC-1000AD) period in Southern Florida through descriptive and quantitative tests. MNI was obtained by determining the frequency of sided petrous bones. This increased the accuracy in determining MNI in comparison to other severely fragmented bones observed.

The preliminary results indicate that the MNI is 103 adults (65.6%) and 54 sub-adults (34.3%). We hypothesized that sub-adults--encompassing 50% of most population structures—would be underrepresented due to difficulties in the preservation of sub-adult remains. Pathology was hypothesized to be infrequent for this non-agrarian population. Supporting our hypothesis, binomial tests show statistical significance between the number of adults and sub-adults represented,p=.000, α≤0.05 . Pathology was observed in 15.5% of the adult population (16 individuals) and 14.8% of the sub-adult population (8 individuals). The high density of remains was also found to be unexpected for assumed archaic environmental conditions and burial practices. Ongoing research aims to analyze features: 223, 224 and 1539 to further develop a record of health, culture, variation and ancestry for this past population.

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