Chapter 16. Growth in Archaeological Populations

  1. Ron Pinhasi PhD Lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology member1 and
  2. Simon Mays PhD Human Skeletal Biologist Visiting Lecturer member Secretary2
  1. Ron Pinhasi PhD Lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology member

Published Online: 27 DEC 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470724187.ch16

Advances in Human Palaeopathology

Advances in Human Palaeopathology

How to Cite

Pinhasi, R. (2007) Growth in Archaeological Populations, in Advances in Human Palaeopathology (eds R. Pinhasi and S. Mays), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470724187.ch16

Editor Information

  1. 1

    Department of Archaeology, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

  2. 2

    English Heritage Centre for Archaeology, Fort Cumberland, Eastney, Portsmouth PO4 9LD, UK

Author Information

  1. Department of Archaeology, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 27 DEC 2007
  2. Published Print: 14 DEC 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470036020

Online ISBN: 9780470724187



  • sub-adults;
  • non-specific stress indicators;
  • growth velocity;
  • intra-individual variations;
  • inter-population analysis


Exposure to nutritional stress and infectious disease has a tremendous impact on the growth patterns of an individual. The growth profile of individuals under environmental stressors is complex, as it may involve periods of stunting and growth faltering, followed by subsequent catch-up growth. This chapter, following the Introduction, begins with a review of some methodological and theoretical issues that are pivotal to growth studies of past populations. It then addresses these aspects with a particular emphasis on studies of growth velocity and intra- and inter-skeletal variations. The next section provides a brief overview of some archaeological studies of the relationship between bone growth and non-specific stressors, followed by a case study on the effect of rickets and non-specific stress on growth. The chapter will conclude by addressing future directions and specifically the possible synergy between modern and past population growth studies.