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Durham e-Theses
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Health and Diet in Upper Nubia through Climate and
Political Change - A bioarchaeological investigation of health and living conditions at ancient Amara West between 1300 and 800BC

BINDER, MICHAELA (2014) Health and Diet in Upper Nubia through Climate and
Political Change - A bioarchaeological investigation of health and living conditions at ancient Amara West between 1300 and 800BC.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

Full text not available from this repository.
Author-imposed embargo until 05 November 2017.

Abstract

This thesis aims to investigate the impact of environmental and socio-political changes on health and living conditions in the ancient settlement of Amara West, Sudan (1300–800BC) through a diachronic comparison of selected indicators of disease and physiological stress on skeletal human remains. The town served as the administrative capital of the province Upper Nubia during the later phase of New Kingdom Egyptian occupation of Nubia (1300–1070BC). Despite the end of Egyptian control, settlement in the area continued until the 8th century. Palaeoenvironmental evidence from the
region indicates that the period of occupation of the site further coincided with general climatic deterioration through increased aridification during the late 2nd and early 1st millennium BC.
Whether these climatic and political changes would have had an affect on health and living conditions at Amara West is explored through comparing multiple markers of physiological stress and disease (stature, orbital changes, dental disease, evidence of nonspecific infection, respiratory diseases, endocranial changes, trauma, osteoarthritis) recorded through macroscopic examination of skeletal human remains from the New Kingdom (1300–1070BC, N=36) and post-New Kingdom period (1070–800BC, N=144). Analysis of stable oxygen and carbon isotopes was also included in the study.
Applying a bio-cultural approach, interpretation of the results is complemented by contextual data drawn from ongoing research in the cemeteries, settlement and
surrounding habitat. Despite limitations due to the bias in sample size, the systematic statistical comparison revealed several tentative trends such as decreasing stature, increased levels of osteoarthritis, dental pathologies, pulmonary diseases, post-cranial fractures and high levels of sub-adult mortality. Changes in stable oxygen isotope composition indicate increasingly arid conditions during the post-New Kingdom period. In light of palaeoenvironmental and isotopic data, the palaeopathological results may therefore
reflect the health consequences of severe environmental changes as well as changes in settlement structure.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Bioarchaeology, palaeopathology, stable isotopes, Ancient Nubia, climate change
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2014
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:10 Nov 2014 11:44

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