Type of Document Dissertation Author Wentz, Rachel Kathleen Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-04032006-170429 Title A Bioarchaeological Assessment of Health from Florida's Archaic: Application of the Western Hemisphere Health Index to the Remains from Windover (8BR246) Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Anthropology, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Glen H. Doran Committee Chair Clarence Gravlee Committee Member Isaac Eberstein Committee Member Rochelle Marrinan Committee Member Keywords
Date of Defense 2006-03-02 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe remains from Windover (8BR46) were excavated in the 1980s from a mortuary pond near Floridaís eastern coast. Represented are over 168 individuals, from neonates to elderly, enabling an evaluation of health at all stages of life. Through the application of the Western Hemisphere Health Index (Steckel and Rose, 2002), the overall health of the Windover population has been assessed and compared to populations utilizing various subsistence practices, in a variety of geographic regions spanning 7,000 years of human history. This assessment indicates a surprisingly low overall health score for a pre-agricultural population, with relatively elevated rates of trauma, anemia, and hypoplastic defects yet low incidences of dental and degenerative joint disease.
Several factors were explored in an attempt to explain the low health scores of Windover. The health of hunter-gatherer populations was evaluated, yet overall these groups scored high on the index. Methodological issues were examined, which showed that interobserver error was quite high in some categories. However, the majority of the scoring criteria utilize presence/absence values, minimizing interobserver error. The trauma criteria were found to be extremely limiting, since it excludes all torso fractures. This prevents the evaluation of some forms of mechanical loading, interpersonal violence, and multi-trauma. Overall, the methodology is straightforward, easy to follow and is now available online.
The final section explored factors that would have had negative implications on health at Windover. This included environmental conditions conducive to the presence and spread of insects, parasites and infectious organisms; a riverine-based diet that was nutritionally adequate yet at times in short supply due to environmental fluctuations; and the social climate of semi-sedentary hunter-gatherers. It is proposed that Windover may represent the incipient stages of sedentism based on the size of the cemetery and archaeobotanical evidence indicating seasonal occupation of the site. The low scores obtained by the Windover population could be a reflection of a populationís attempt to transition from a mobile to a more sedentary existence, with the associated health costs inherent to larger, stationary populations.
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