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

An osteological analysis of the Manasota Period Yellow Bluffs site (8SO4) from Sarasota, Florida


1Anthropology Program, Florida Gulf Coast University, 2Department of Justice Studies, Florida Gulf Coast University

Thursday All day, Park Concourse Add to calendar

Osteological analyses of populations in the Southeastern U.S. have generally focused on large inland burial mounds associated with historic and proto-historic farming populations. By contrast, relatively little osteological information has been generated on small coastal pre-Columbian hunter-gatherer populations. Here, we provide information on such a population through the analysis of a salvage collection from the Yellow Bluffs Mound (8SO4) on Sarasota Bay, Florida. The goal of this project is to assess the health and demographics of the small coastal fishing population that interred their dead in the mound during the early middle of the Manasota Period (185-60 cal B.C.). Comparisons are drawn with the limited information available from other pre-Columbian hunter-gatherer populations in southern Florida.

Analysis was aided by Osteoware Software to ascertain the minimum number of individuals (MNI) represented by the highly fragmentary and commingled remains. Preliminary results based on sided temporal bones suggest an MNI of 26 individuals, although additional archaeological information indicates that the probable count may be closer to 33 adults and 12 juveniles. This percentage of juveniles (27%) is comparable to other pre-Columbian sites in southern Florida. Observed pathological conditions include one incidence of osteomyelitis on the tibia, an isolated incidence of endocranial lytic activity manifested as hematopoietic inflammatory/hemorrhagic response of the meninges in both parietals and the frontal of an adult male , a healed antemortem fracture in the same individual, one dental abscess, and six individuals (13%) with linear enamel hypoplasia. These results also compare well to other contemporaneous sites in southern Florida.

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