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Keywords:

  • bioarchaeology;
  • injury;
  • fracture;
  • Sudan;
  • Kerma

Abstract

Modern communities affiliated with the same culture have been shown to experience comparable levels of interpersonal violence, no matter what their size. It was hypothesized that a similar relationship would exist among ancient rural and urban people, but that accident-related trauma may be more prominent among rural dwellers due to their activity base. Through an analysis of antemortem trauma, this investigation contrasted the injury profile of Nubian adult villagers (N = 55) from the Kerma period (2500–1750 BC) to that of their urban neighbors (N = 223) at Kerma (2050–1500 BC). The injury pattern associated with interpersonal violence (cranial injury, direct-force ulna fractures, and multiple injuries) was similar between the two samples, as hypothesized. The rural group sustained significantly more nonviolence-related injuries that suggested occupational or environmental influences. The more severe cranial injuries observed among urban people are attributed to a preference for more lethal hand-wielded objects that may have accompanied increasing local tensions and incursions into Egypt during the 17th Dynasty. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.