An Osteobiography of a Oaxacan Chontal Young Adult Female


Skeleton Sk-CV-01 is a female around 18 years of age, carefully buried in a stone cist in the Chontal Highlands of southern Oaxaca during the Late Postclassic or Early Colonial period. She is the first and only human skeleton known from controlled excavations in the area, and the archaeological context and historical documentation associate her with the Chontal people who still inhabit the region. In this presentation the results of the archaeological, osteological, and stable isotope analyses of this unique skeleton are presented. The skeletal and dental analysis revealed many pathological conditions, including porotic hyperostosis, cribra orbitalia, periostitis, a healed fracture, dental caries and abscesses, periodontitis, and possibly tuberculosis. Musculoskeletal markers indicate differential use of the arms, possibly related to activities such as grinding corn. The cranium shows evidence of modification, which we suggest occurred from the carrying of heavy loads via a tumpline from a young age. The stable carbon and nitrogen isotope data suggest that her diet was high in maize, and low in animal protein which came from terrestrial herbivores low on the trophic chain. These results provide us with a first glimpse into the health conditions, daily activities, and diet of this little known ethnic group.

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Cite this Record

An Osteobiography of a Oaxacan Chontal Young Adult Female. Martha Alfaro, Dr. Andrea L. Waters-Rist;, Danny Zborover. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395448)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;