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Keywords:

  • vertebral trauma;
  • activity markers;
  • Arctic Alaska;
  • Nunivak Island;
  • Golovin Bay

Abstract

Vertebral compression, as evidenced by compression of the centrum, was observed within two Native Alaskan skeletal samples. Information was collected from 1,071 and 656 vertebrae from Golovin Bay and Nunivak Island, Alaska, respectively. In addition, patterns of compression related vertebral change in each collection were characterized by sex and location within the vertebral column. The overall frequencies of vertebral compression were 3.6% (n = 721) at Golovin Bay and 1.7% (n = 403) at Nunivak Island for all observable thoracic and lumbar vertebrae (T1–L5). There was no statistically significant difference in the occurrence of compression among adults between these two collections. When examining the thoracic and lumbar vertebral segments by sex, females at Golovin Bay (4.5%; n = 442) exhibited a significantly higher frequency of vertebral compression than females at Nunivak (1.0%; n = 203). However, this difference in occurrence of compression could be accounted for by the age distributions of the two samples. No difference was noted between the males of the two collections. Compression frequencies in both samples are discussed in relation to the modes of transportation historically utilized by each community. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.