The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)


DENTAL PATHOLOGY AND INDICATORS OF ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS IN THE PREHISTORIC POPULATION OF THE ATACAMA DESERT

TAMARA PARDO1, MARK HUBBE2,3, EUGENIO ASPILLAGA4 and MAURICIO URIBE4.

1Laboratório de Estudos Evolutivos Humanos, Universidade de São Paulo, 2Department of Anthropology, The Ohio State University, 3Instituto de Investigaciones Arqueológicas y Museo, Universidad Católica del Norte, 4Departamento de Antropología, Universidad de Chile

Thursday 9:45-10:00, 200ABC Add to calendar

The present investigation evaluates the biological impact of the occupation of different ecological niches over time in the Atacama Desert, North Chile. We compared skeletal samples from sites in Pica-Tarapacá and the Atacama oases from different cultural periods (Formative, Middle and Late Intermediate). Our goal was to explore differences over time in these two desert areas.

We analyzed dental pathology, including caries, occlusal wear and antemortem tooth loss in concert with the cultural context of the burials as a way of accessing diet during these times and between the two regions. Considering the significant environmental stress produced by desert climates, we also studied several osteological indicators of stress: linear enamel hypoplasia, cribra orbitalia and porotic hyperostosis.

Our results show a high prevalence in both sets of indicators. However, while there are pronounced differences in all dietary indicators between periods in the Atacama oases sample, Pica-Tarapacá shows significant differences only in antemortem tooth loss. Environmental stress indicators show no clear pattern of chronological or geographical differences. Nevertheless, the mortuary context and high prevalence of hypoplasia in most samples, suggests that these populations were subject to high levels of environmental stress.

This study was supported by FONDECYT 11070091

Tweet
comments powered by Disqus