Degenerative Joint Disease and Social Status in the Terminal Late Archaic Period (1000–500 b.c.) of Ohio
Article first published online: 9 AUG 2011
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
International Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Volume 23, Issue 5, pages 529–544, September/October 2013
How to Cite
Woo, E. J. and Sciulli, P. W. (2013), Degenerative Joint Disease and Social Status in the Terminal Late Archaic Period (1000–500 b.c.) of Ohio. Int. J. Osteoarchaeol., 23: 529–544. doi: 10.1002/oa.1264
- Issue published online: 7 OCT 2013
- Article first published online: 9 AUG 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 25 JUN 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 19 JUN 2011
- Manuscript Received: 6 AUG 2010
- skeletal health;
- degenerative joint disease;
- Late Archaic;
- social status;
- mortuary practices;
- grave goods;
This research presents an analysis of the inferred Late Archaic social structure in Ohio based on degenerative joint disease (DJD, also known as osteoarthritis) and mortuary practices. We tested the hypothesis that mechanical loading involving physical activities is differentially distributed in a population along levels or types of social stratification. This hypothesis was investigated via statistical treatment of DJD as a skeletal stress marker of activity, its occurrence by age and sex, an association with grave goods, and spatial distribution in terminal Late Archaic cemeteries. The skeletal samples used in this study came from three cemeteries, the Boose, Kirian-Treglia (KT), and Duff sites, dating to the Ohio terminal Late Archaic period.
In general, the high overall prevalence of DJD in these people indicates that this population led a rigorous life. This study hypothesized that the burials in the Late Archaic period in Ohio might be socially patterned as evidenced from the unequal distribution of grave goods and skeletal variability in DJD. Nevertheless, the analyses suggest that there is no statistical association between DJD and mortuary practices including grave goods and burial location in a cemetery. As observed in numerous hunter–gatherer populations, the societies in our sample were also characterized by the absence of a marked social stratification. The results suggest that there were only ‘natural inequalities’ in Late Archaic societies due to biological factors, such as age and sex. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.