Cradleboarding was practiced by numerous prehistoric and historic populations, including the Hopi. In this group, one result of cra-dleboarding was bilateral or asymmetric flattening of the posterior occipital. We test whether cradleboarding had significant effects on the morphology of the cranial vault, cranial base, and face. Additionally, we examine associations between direction of flattening and asymmetric craniofacial growth.
A skeletal sample of Hopi from the Old Walpi site includes both nonmodified (N = 43) and modified individuals (N = 39). Three-dimensional coordinates of 53 landmarks were obtained using a diagraph. Thirty-six landmarks were used to define nine finite elements in the cranial vault, cranial base, and face. Finite element scaling was used to compare average nonmodified individuals, with averages of bilaterally, right, and left modified individuals. The significance of variation among “treatment” groups was evaluated using a bootstrap test. Pearson product-moment correlations test the association of asymmetry with direction of modification.
Hopi cradleboarding has a significant effect on growth of the cranial vault, but does not affect morphology of the cranial base or face. Bilateral flattening of the cranial vault leads to decreased length and increased width of the cranial vault. Flattening of the right or left cranial vault results in ipsilaterally decreased length and width coupled with a corresponding increased length and width on the contralateral side of the cranial vault. There is a significant correlation of size asymmetry with direction of modification in the cranial vault, but not with size or shape change in the cranial base or face. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.