A Bioarchaeological Survey of Skeletal Tuberculosis in Prehistoric Southern Peru

Author(s): Allisen Dahlstedt; Jane Buikstra

Year: 2017


Recent studies of pre-Columbian Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) genomes identify pinnipeds as a source of human tuberculosis in South America (Bos et al. 2014). These results raise questions regarding the timing of this zoonotic transfer and the subsequent human host adaptation and dissemination of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Here we present a survey of skeletal tuberculosis throughout the Osmore Drainage of southern Peru, where the pinniped to human "jump" had occurred by ~AD 1000. This sample includes individuals interred within coastal and inland sites occupied between 385 BC and AD 1475. We explore patterning of disease across age at death and sex, as well as changes in skeletal expressions across time and space. We then address the hypothesis that M. tuberculosis manifested similar skeletal expressions in humans living in pre-Columbian South America as it did in Europe prior to antibiotic treatment. The results of this study have implications within the fields of bioarchaeology and genomics for understanding the origin and spread of skeletal tuberculosis in the Americas.

Cite this Record

A Bioarchaeological Survey of Skeletal Tuberculosis in Prehistoric Southern Peru. Allisen Dahlstedt, Jane Buikstra. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431027)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14337