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Durham e-Theses
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A Bioarchaeological Analysis of Spinal Pathology across Ancient Nubia between 300 BC and 1500 AD

TIPPER, SAMANTHA,NICOLA (2020) A Bioarchaeological Analysis of Spinal Pathology across Ancient Nubia between 300 BC and 1500 AD. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Until now, a comprehensive study of the evidence for spinal disease and trauma in archaeological human remains has not yet been achieved for past Nubian populations, even though it can potentially tell us much about the health, welfare, and occupational and environmental stresses faced in ancient Nubia. This study presents a comparative study of spinal health, providing bioarchaeological data from 515 individuals (12,103 vertebrae), from five populations that date from the Meroitic (300 BC) to the Medieval period (AD 1500). Individuals included in this study derive from
the sites of Semna South (n=192) and Mis Island (n=157), Gabati (n=80), Hesa(n=60) and lastly Soba East (n=26). Six conditions affecting the spine were studied, namely spinal fractures, spondylolysis, and clay shoveler’s fractures, Schmorl’s nodes, osteoarthritis and spondylosis. Contextual data from settlements and cemeteries were used to interpret the results, thus emphasizing the need to use a biocultural approach in bioarchaeology. The results demonstrated an overall prevalence (individuals affected) of 8.9% for fractures, 6.4% for spondylolysis, 22.7% for Schmorl’s Nodes, 48% for osteoarthritis, and 80.3% for spondylosis, while no evidence for clay shoveler’s fractures was
observed. Overall, the results revealed a number of trends, for example that males were most affected by all spinal diseases (and trauma) observed, that all spinal diseases (and trauma) increased over time, that the highest prevalence rates were observed in the Medieval period, and that there was a higher prevalence rate of spinal
diseases and trauma among the populations from Hesa and Mis Island compared to the other populations.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Sudan, Ancient Nubia, Paleopathology, Archaeology, Spondylolysis, osteoarthritis, Schmorl's nodes, fractures.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Dec 2020 09:02

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