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

Evidence of Osteoarthritis during the Tiwanaku State in Bolivia and Peru (AD 500-1100)


Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Thursday 9:00-9:15, 200ABC Add to calendar

Osteoarthritis (OA) from approximately 1,235 adults was used to evaluate Tiwanaku peoples for changes in activity and movement between the core of the state in highland Lake Titicaca, Bolivia and colony sites in the lower elevation Moquegua Valley, Peru. Of primary importance to this study was the pattern and level of involvement, as OA is part of a family of degenerative joint diseases potentially indicating repetitive movement in various areas of the body. As such, data from 25 different articular surfaces within seven joints, shoulder, elbow, wrist, sacroiliac, hip, knee, and ankle, were evaluated and for the presence/absence and scalar differences of OA. Statistical comparisons using Generalized Estimating Equations with the chi-square statistic showed evidence of higher modeled rates, more intense joint use, and significant results in the core area of the Tiwanaku state in both the upper and lower body. These results point to repetitive movement differences among those living in the core and lesser repetitive tasks among Tiwanaku colonists, which was the less expected result if Tiwanaku was a traditional hierarchical and centralized state. Highland females also had OA joint differences in areas of the body, such as the sacroiliac, while female colonists had higher modeled rates in the lower limbs, indicating greater mobility among these women. Additionally, age-related OA differences were noted in individuals from both regions, especially from peoples who died in their thirties during the Tiwanaku state.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0925866.

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