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Bioarchaeological Assessment of Health from Florida's Archaic

Title: A Bioarchaeological Assessment of Health from Florida's Archaic: Application of the Western Hemisphere Health Index to the Remains from Windover (8Br246).
Name(s): Wentz, Rachel Kathleen, author
Doran, Glen H., professor directing dissertation
Eberstein, Isaac, outside committee member
Marrinan, Rochelle A., committee member
Gravlee, Clarence C., committee member
Department of Anthropology, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2006
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The remains from Windover (8BR46) were excavated in the 1980s from a mortuary pond near Florida's eastern coast. Represented are over 168 individuals, from neonates to elderly, enabling an evaluation of health at all stages of life. Through the application of the Western Hemisphere Health Index (Steckel and Rose, 2002), the overall health of the Windover population has been assessed and compared to populations utilizing various subsistence practices, in a variety of geographic regions spanning 7,000 years of human history. This assessment indicates a surprisingly low overall health score for a pre-agricultural population, with relatively elevated rates of trauma, anemia, and hypoplastic defects yet low incidences of dental and degenerative joint disease. Several factors were explored in an attempt to explain the low health scores of Windover. The health of hunter-gatherer populations was evaluated, yet overall these groups scored high on the index. Methodological issues were examined, which showed that interobserver error was quite high in some categories. However, the majority of the scoring criteria utilize presence/absence values, minimizing interobserver error. The trauma criteria were found to be extremely limiting, since it excludes all torso fractures. This prevents the evaluation of some forms of mechanical loading, interpersonal violence, and multi-trauma. Overall, the methodology is straightforward, easy to follow and is now available online. The final section explored factors that would have had negative implications on health at Windover. This included environmental conditions conducive to the presence and spread of insects, parasites and infectious organisms; a riverine-based diet that was nutritionally adequate yet at times in short supply due to environmental fluctuations; and the social climate of semi-sedentary hunter-gatherers. It is proposed that Windover may represent the incipient stages of sedentism based on the size of the cemetery and archaeobotanical evidence indicating seasonal occupation of the site. The low scores obtained by the Windover population could be a reflection of a population's attempt to transition from a mobile to a more sedentary existence, with the associated health costs inherent to larger, stationary populations.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-1187 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation Submitted to the Department of Anthropology in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2006.
Date of Defense: March 2, 2006.
Keywords: Osteology, Paleopathology, Bioarchaeology, Skeletal, Archaic, Health
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory committee: Glen H. Doran, Professor Directing Dissertation; Isaac Eberstein, Outside Committee Member; Rochelle A. Marrinan, Committee Member; Clarence C. Gravlee, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Anthropology
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

Choose the citation style.
Wentz, R. K. (2006). A Bioarchaeological Assessment of Health from Florida's Archaic: Application of the Western Hemisphere Health Index to the Remains from Windover (8Br246). Retrieved from