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

Stress in Archaic Texan Hunter-Gatherers: an Assessment of Linear Enamel Hypoplasias


1Centre for Research in Evolutionary and Environmental Anthropology, University of Roehampton, 2Department of Anthropology, Florida State University

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Digital photographs taken under controlled conditions were used to examine the incidence of linear enamel hypoplasias (LEHs) in the Buckeye Knoll population (41VT98 Victoria county, Texas). These burials span the Early to Late Archaic (ca. 2500-6500 B.P. uncorrected radiocarbon). This method provides an archive for Buckeye Knoll which is of utmost importance, as the skeletal material from Buckeye Knoll has subsequently been repatriated and reinterred. We analyzed incidence and developmental timing of LEHs in permanent canines only. This population had a mean of 1.28 LEHs and a mode of 1 defect (N=78). There was no significant difference in the number of defects found on maxillary versus mandibular canines. Fifty-nine percent of permanent canines had at least one defect. Average age at first insult was is 3.88 years (range 2.7- 4.9 years). The mean overall age of all defects was 4.15 years old (range 2.8-5.3 years). Having an earlier age of first insult was associated with having more LEHs (rho = -.367, n = 53, p =.007). The range of ages of weaning for hunter-gatherer societies is from 1 year old to 4.5 years old (n= 40 societies in the Standard Cross Cultural Sample). Age of the mean earliest defect for Buckeye Knoll is within this range (mean = 3.88). However, this mean age of insult could also support the hypothesis that developmental timing of most LEHs may be due to greater susceptibility of metabolic disruptions to enamel formation during this developmental window (2-4 years) rather than weaning.

This work was supported by the Army Corps of Engineers.

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