Bioarchaeology of Care in Three San Francisco Bay Area Muwekma Ohlone Ancestral Sites


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2023: Individual Abstracts" session, at the 88th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

This presentation applies Tilley and Cameron’s 2014 Index of Care to the mortuary population of three

ancestral Muwekma Ohlone sites that were excavated in the San Francisco Bay Area between 2016-

2022 (CA-ALA-565/H, CA-ALA-677/H, and CA-ALA-704/H). These sites include the remains of 147

individuals dating between approximately 2200-110 cal BP. This analysis begins by describing the

interred individuals and providing differential diagnoses of pathological conditions that were observed

during osteological analysis of remains from these three sites. Over 10% of the 147 individuals examined

showed evidence of congenital or acquired pathological conditions which likely impacted their ability to

care for themselves, with the incidence of severe pathology increasing to over 20% during the

protohistoric period. Notable pathologies present include tuberculosis, hydrocephalus, acute septic

arthritis, nutritional deficiencies, and physical injuries which lead to infection. With diagnoses described,

we attempt to categorize and assess associated disability and models of care, seeking to illuminate how

care given to these individuals in life reflects agency of these people and their caregivers. By evaluating

this assemblage through the Index of Care, we aim to highlight the unique challenges that individuals

from these sites faced, and the way that compassion is evidenced in the bioarchaeological record.

Cite this Record

Bioarchaeology of Care in Three San Francisco Bay Area Muwekma Ohlone Ancestral Sites. Brittany Hill, Laurel Engbring, David Grant, Monica V. Arellano, Alan Leventhal. Presented at The 88th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. 2023 ( tDAR id: 474662)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.189; min lat: 31.803 ; max long: -105.469; max lat: 43.58 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 36641.0