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Heath and Stress of Ancient People on the Shanbei Loess Slope in China: The Social and Environmental Impact

Author(s): Liang Chen ; Yan Zhang ; Jing Zhao ; Zhouyong Sun ; Elizabeth Berger

Year: 2017

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This paper investigates the impact of social and environmental changes on the health of people living during the Warring States period (ca. 5th – 13th Century B.C.) on the Shanbei Loess Slope, a marginal area that connects the Guanzhong Plain and the Shanbei Plateau. Two human skeletal assemblages representing two different cultural settings, but with a longstanding history of conflict, were selected: (1) Zhaitouhe cemetery (n=73) (Xirong Culture, the minority) and (2) Shijiahe cemetery (n=33) (Qin Culture, the dominant majority). Bioarchaeological data including traumatic injuries, osteoarthritis, dental pathology, and other nonspecific stress indicators were examined to elucidate the experiences of violence and labour over the life course, and to infer the social and environmental challenges of living in each of these two groups. Preliminary results from the trauma analysis suggests that the Zhaitouhe-the Xirong minority population experienced a higher risk of violent injuries. In addition, it appears that most individuals in this marginal group lived a lifestyle with more repetitive hard-work than their counterparts in the dominant culture. Bioarchaeological analyses suggest that social stratification has wide-ranging consequences over most if not all aspects of life-ways and life history.

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Heath and Stress of Ancient People on the Shanbei Loess Slope in China: The Social and Environmental Impact. Liang Chen, Yan Zhang, Jing Zhao, Zhouyong Sun, Elizabeth Berger. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 432007)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16699

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America