Human Biology Open Access Pre-Prints
Sex-Ratio, Health, and Social Status: A Biographical Description of Middle and Late Period Bay Area Children
The aim of this paper is to present new information pertaining to the demographic profile of the juvenile burial assemblage (n=39) from a Late Holocene site located on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay. CA-ALA-329 is commonly referred to as Ryan Mound and now bears the Muwekma Ohlone name of Mánni Muwékma Kúksú Hóowok Yatiš Túnnešte-tka, which means Place Where the People of the Kúksú (Bighead) Pendants are Buried. This site has been extensively studied and has contributed significantly to our understanding of life on the Bay during the Middle and Late Periods. However, most of the previous studies have focused on adults. The goal of the present study is to identify patterns in the profiles of those who died prematurely, including their sex, their degree of stress experienced based on skeletal indicators of disease/malnutrition, and their social status based on associated grave goods. Results show high incidence of skeletal indicators consistent with nutritional deficiency, disease/infection, and/or metabolic disorder observed in the sample. This suggests that this population was experiencing stress. Individual circumstances, such as age and sex, may also have contributed to poor health because infants have the highest prevalence of cribra orbitalia and periostitis. The distribution of wealth as evidenced by burial goods associated with the sample shows some correlation with age-at-death and the types of artifacts. Distribution of wealth also differs temporally. Inequality seems to have been highest in the Middle Period, while inequality decreased, but overall wealth increased, into the Late Period.
Fournier, Nichole A.; Eerkens, Jelmer W.; Buonasera, Tammy; Parker, Glendon J.; Arellano, Monica; and Leventhal, Alan, "Sex-Ratio, Health, and Social Status: A Biographical Description of Middle and Late Period Bay Area Children" (2023). Human Biology Open Access Pre-Prints. 204.