Dolores Archaeological Program Technical Reports, DAP-063: Analysis of Human Skeletal Remains from the Dolores Archaeological Project: 1978-1980

Author(s): Ann Lucy Wiener

Year: 1983


This report includes the tentative assessment of the demographic, morphological, and epidemiological characteristics of the Dolores River valley Anasazi population as represented by the small sample of 32 individuals recovered during 1978-1980 excavations by the DAP (Dolores Archaeological Program). Two fragmentary protohistoric burials are also described. Burial practices are typical of the Mesa Verde Region during Basketmaker III to Pueblo II/III periods; individuals were predominately interred in abandoned habitation structures and in midden deposits. Only four burials are accompanied by grave goods, and there is no evidence for high status burials such as have been noted at Chacoan outlier sites in the vicinity (cf. Reed et al. 1979:100). Comparative analyses of stature and other metric, anthroscopic, and discrete skeletal and dental morphological traits place the DAP skeletal sample with in an expected range of morphological variability for Mesa Verde Anasazi. Rates of dental attrition and pathology are typical for a sample of predominately young and middle adult individuals in the Anasazi nutritional environment. Frequencies of degenerative and infectious pathologies in this sample are low, as is the incidence of trauma. A substantial portion of the sample exhibits active or healed lesions of cribra orbitalia and symmetrical osteoporosis (indicating a prevalence of iron deficiency anemia probably due to a low-grade, perhaps seasonally occurring, mineral and vitamin deficiency) and host responses to parasitic invasion of the intestinal tract. Incidents of arrested growth in the long bones and permanent dentition documented by lines of increased density and enamel hypoplasia indicate that a large proportion of the sample experienced some type of systematic metabolic stress during childhood and adolescence. A larger sample of individuals is required to examine more closely the potential patterns of stress in the male and female segments of the population, and to discern changes in the health status of the Dolores area Anasazi as potential correlates of subsistence and settlement change during the Sagehen and McPhee Phases .

Cite this Record

Dolores Archaeological Program Technical Reports, DAP-063: Analysis of Human Skeletal Remains from the Dolores Archaeological Project: 1978-1980. Ann Lucy Wiener. Dolores Archaeological Program Technical Reports. Salt Lake city, Utah: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Upper Colorado Region. 1983 ( tDAR id: 396779) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8WD437J


Spatial Coverage

min long: -108.6; min lat: 37.463 ; max long: -108.485; max lat: 37.59 ;

Record Identifiers

Bureau of Reclamation Contract No.(s): 8-07-40-S0562


General Note: As of April 2015, this and additional reports are hosted on the US Bureau of Land Management, Dolores Archaeological Program website;

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