• Dental enamel hypoplasia;
  • Paleopathology;
  • Nubia;
  • Stress


Analysis of enamel hypoplasia frequencies for two medieval populations representing the earliest and latest Christian periods of ancient Nubia reveals important diachronic shifts in childhood stress. The mean frequency for hypoplastic bands among the early Christians is 4.2, while the late Christian sample has a mean frequency of 3.7. In addition, the earlier Christians show a prolongation of hypoplastic occurrences through childhood corresponding to a prolonged period of intensified childhood mortality. The modal time interval between hypoplastic occurrences is also shorter for the early Christian children.

A comparison of hypoplasia frequencies by sex also reveals a pattern of considerable interest. Females show both lower frequencies of hypoplasias as well as a delay in onset.

The diachronic differences are consistent with other indications from paleopathology and paleodemography that childhood stress decreased in later Christian times. The sex differences suggest that during the infancy and early childhood females were more resilient than their male counterparts.