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


Entheseal changes: do they reflect socioeconomic status in the Early Medieval Great Moravian population? (Mikulčice, Czech Republic, 9th – 10th century)

PETRA HAVELKOVÁ1, MAREK HLADÍK2 and PETR VELEMÍNSKÝ1.

1Department of Anthropology, National Museum in Prague, 2Department of Slavic and Medieval Archaeology, The Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Brno v.v.i.

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Entheseal changes (EC) of skeletons of past populations are presumed to be related to the social status of individuals, characterized by grave localization/depth or grave goods. The main aim of this contribution was to verify the existence of relationships between EC distribution and archaeological data.

Fibrocartilaginous entheses of upper and lower limb bones of 115 individuals (aged 20-50 years) from the early medieval burial site Mikulčice – Kostelec were evaluated using Villotte´s method (2006). The entheses were separated into four groups according to function. Factor analysis (FA) was applied three times with three different combinations of descriptors: 1) groups of entheses; 2) groups of entheses, sex and age; 3) archeological data. This third step was important for the validation of results acquired from anthropological data.

It is possible to link several models of EC distribution with certain archeological characteristics. Graves of females who demonstrate markers of stress involving upper limb flexors and lower limb entheses are superficial and contain no grave goods. Occurrence of EC in both upper limb extensors and flexors is typical for females with daily use of goods and/or jewellery. Males buried with military objects demonstrate the lowest incidence of EC, but their EC distribution is similar to that of females with jewellery.

The most important archeological descriptors related to the character of physical stress appear to be grave depth and the character of grave goods. The mere presence or absence of grave goods does not provide any important information.

This study was funded by GACR no. 206/07/0699, the Czech Ministry of Culture VZ PM MK00002327201 and research grant MSM 0021620843 from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic.

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