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

Human skeletal remains from Neale’s Landing (46WD39), Blennerhassett Island, West Virginia


Anthropology, Dickinson College

Saturday All day, Plaza Level Add to calendar

This study presents an analysis of the human skeletal remains from Neale’s Landing (46WD39), a burial mound along a bluff on Blennerhassett Island, West Virginia, a four-mile-long island within the Ohio River. E. Thomas Hemmings of the West Virginia State Geological Survey excavated the site in 1973 and 1974 and obtained two radiocarbon dates of AD 1290 and 1520. Little information is known about the human populations from the eastern peripheries of the Ohio River Valley during this time period. The site is comprised of 27 burials with a minimum number of individuals of 42. Twenty three individuals are adult in age of which 11 were identified as male and 10 as female. Six individuals were neonates, two of which were possibly still-born twins based on their proximity in burial. Two individuals are 1-2 years-of-age; six individuals are 5-10 years-of-age; three individuals are between 10-15 years-of-age; and two individuals between 15-18 years-of-age. With the exception of one adult male with a projectile point embedded in a thoracic vertebra, there was little osteological evidence of trauma or infectious disease. Dental caries were not frequent and dental wear patterns indicate slow degeneration with age. The composition of age cohorts and few incidences of pathological conditions provide a demographic profile of a population within Ohio River Valley during the few centuries preceding and up to European contact and colonization.

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