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

Tetracycline Labeling in Early Christian Burials from Kulubnarti, Nubia: Measure of Class Differences


1Anthropology, Emory University, 2Anthropology, University of Colorado Boulder, 3Anthropology, The Ohio State University

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The prevalence of tetracycline labeling was analyzed in 38 individuals from Early Christian cemeteries on the island of Kulubnarti in Upper Nubia (546 CE to 848 CE). Thin sections were analyzed under Ultra Violet light using Image-Pro Plus software. The S (716 CE) and R (752 CE) cemeteries are cotemporaneous (the 36 year difference is not significant) and provide evidence for a Nubian underclass in what has always been seen as a non-stratified society. Located on the west bank adjacent to the modern village of Kulubnarti is the R cemetery which is representative of landed villagers. The S cemetery, which is likely to have been an itinerate population of landless folk moving from place to place and working the lands of others, is located on an island adjacent to the west bank. Health, as measured, is poorer and mortality higher in the S population. Total labeled osteons in the R population (25.23%) (average age 17.8 years) was greater than the (24.71%) than in the S population (average 22.8 years) (p = 0.02). In the S population, 28.52 % of bone was labeled compared to 29.03% of bone labeled in the R population (p = 0.051).

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