Cortical bone growth and dietary stress among subadults from Nubia's Batn el Hajar



Cortical bone growth is analyzed for 174 children from a Medieval Christian population at Kulubnarti in the Batn el Hajar of Sudanese Nubia (550–1450 AD). Using the tibia as a representative long bone, total subperiosteal area, cortical area, medullary area, and percent cortical area at midshaft were calculated. While growth in total and cortical areas, as well as in length, appear to be fairly well maintained, percent cortical area reveals unusual growth patterns which reflect excessive endosteal resorption.

Compared to the relative reduction in bone mass which has been observed in malnourished living children, as well as with previously reported evidence for stress in the Kulubnarti population, the present data support an interpretation of nutritionally related stress and of no major diachronic dietary change.