Ethnic Disparity and Stress in Prehispanic Peru: A contextualized analysis of Cranial Pathology and Facial Asymmetry


This study evaluates the effects of stress on a prehistoric population from the south-central highlands of Andahuaylas, Peru during the Late Intermediate Period (LIP: AD 1000 - AD 1400). This era was characterized by skyrocketing violence, resource competition, and increasing social inequality. We test the impact of these phenomena by examining cranial lesions and fluctuating facial asymmetry--both indicators of non-specific stress-- among different ethnic groups, identified by the absence, presence, and intensity of cranial modification. Skeletal analysis of 76 crania informed on age, sex, pathologies, and modification patterns. A Microscribe digitizer and attendant software programs were used to gauge facial asymmetry. If stress disparities between ethnic groups increased during the LIP, then we hypothesize that: 1) groups with modification will have higher rates of lesions than unmodified groups, 2) groups with modification will display more facial asymmetry than unmodified groups, and 3) cranial modification intensity will directly co-vary with facial asymmetry. Preliminary results suggest that individuals with modification indeed have higher rates of cranial lesions and greater facial asymmetry than the unmodified group. Finally, since facial landmarks appear unaffected by modification, these results support a model of increasing stress disparities between ethnic groups.

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Ethnic Disparity and Stress in Prehispanic Peru: A contextualized analysis of Cranial Pathology and Facial Asymmetry. Davette Gadison, Kassie Sugimoto, Danielle Kurin, Bethany Turner-Livermore. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398018)

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Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;