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Keywords:

  • degenerative joint disease;
  • Middle Holocene;
  • forager

Abstract

This examination of osteoarthritis in Siberia's Cis-Baikal region focuses on the reconstruction of mid-Holocene mobility and activity patterns with particular interest in an alleged fifth millennium BC biocultural hiatus. Five cemetery populations—–two representing the pre-hiatus Kitoi culture (6800–4900 BC) and three the post-hiatus Serovo-Glaskovo (4200–1000 BC)—are considered. The objective is to investigate osteoarthritic prevalence and distribution (patterning) within and among these populations in order to reconstruct mobility and activity patterns among the Cis-Baikal foragers, and to test for possible disparities that may reflect differing adaptive strategies. The data reveal that levels of activity remained relatively constant throughout the mid-Holocene but that mobility and specific activity patterns did not. Although results are consistent with the current understanding of distinct Kitoi and Serovo-Glaskovo subsistence regimes, specifically the lower residential mobility and narrower resource base of the former, they also draw attention to adaptive characteristics shared by all occupants of the Cis-Baikal. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.