Join us this Friday, September 16th for our first meeting of the Fall! Our September speaker will be Brianna Mack speaking on “Osteoarthritis in Middle Holocene Hunter-Gatherers from the Cis-Baikal Region of Siberia, Russia”. All are welcome to attend the meeting at 7:00 pm in Room 132 of the Archaeology Building on the University of Saskatchewan campus (55 Campus Drive).
Brianna Mack is currently finishing her Master of Arts degree in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Saskatchewan. During the summer of 2011 she traveled to Irkutsk, Russia and collected the data required for her thesis. Her research involved the analysis of osteoarthritis data from human remains found in the Lake Baikal region of Siberia dating to the Early Neolithic, Late Neolithic, and Early Bronze Age periods. She enjoyed her travel to Russia and hopes to return again in the future once she has completed her MA. She lives with her husband Ben and their large family of freshwater fishes, and are excited to add one feisty feline to the mix very soon.
Abstract – Osteoarthritis in Middle Holocene Hunter-Gatherers from the Cis-Baikal Region of Siberia, Russia
The Cis-Baikal region of Siberia offers a well-preserved suite of cemetery sites, enabling detailed reconstruction of lifeways among middle Holocene hunter-gatherer groups. Broadly, these cemeteries feature two biologically and culturally distinct populations, separated by an 800 year hiatus: the Early Neolithic (8000–7000/6800 cal BP) Kitoi culture (“pre-hiatus”) and the Late Neolithic-Early Bronze Age (6000/5800–4000 cal BP) Isakovo-Serovo-Glaskovo or ISG cultural complex (“post-hiatus”). For over two decades, the Baikal-Hokkaido Archaeology Project (BHAP) has investigated middle Holocene hunter-gatherer adaptations using a variety of interdisciplinary methods. This research builds upon previous BHAP work on osteoarthritis (OA) and activity reconstruction in the Cis-Baikal by examining human remains from three large cemeteries located throughout the region — Lokomotiv and Shamanka II (pre-hiatus), and Ust’-Ida I (post-hiatus). More specifically, I employ data on OA severity for the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, ankle, and the vertebral column to test hypotheses about temporal, spatial, and sex-based differences in activity patterns. Data presented here are generally consistent with findings of previous BHAP studies, indicating temporal and local variation in ancient activity patterns, as well as sex-based differences. Male groups from the three cemeteries under study here exhibited relatively consistent (high) OA severity scores, while female groups from the Angara River Valley (regardless of time period) featured higher OA severity scores than those from the South Baikal. I suggest that local demographic and environmental factors likely played an important role in producing these differences.