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Keywords:

  • Perinatal Deaths;
  • Paleodemography;
  • Paleopathology;
  • Mesoamerica

Abstract

The skeletal population of 166 individuals from a low-status apartment compound of the pre-Columbian city of Teotihuacan contained 52 perinatal individuals. The most perilous time of the lifespan was around birth, as revealed by life table analysis. Femur length was not increasing during the last month of gestation, and individuals were probably shorter somatically at birth than modern standards or historic-period Arikara skeletal controls. The possibility of intrauterine growth retardation is investigated through paleopathological indicators of prenatal growth arrest. The evidence of prenatal stress and the high rate of mortality at birth seem to indicate that this New World preindustrial urban population faced similar health and nutritional stresses as Old World preindustrial cities.