Skeletal markers of occupational stress in the Fur Trade: A case study from a Hudson's Bay Company Fur Trade post

Authors

  • Ping Lai,

    1. Department of Anthropology, 13–15 Tory Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H4, Canada
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  • Nancy C. Lovell

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Anthropology, 13–15 Tory Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H4, Canada
    • Department of Anthropology, 13–15 Tory Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H4 Canada. Telephone (403) 492-3879. Fax: (403) 492-5273
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Abstract

The Seafort Burial Site (FcPr100) is a Fur Trade Period cemetery located near the town of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. The results of recent analysis of skeletons recovered during salvage excavations between 1969 and 1971 suggest that three males in this sample were voyageurs in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company. Vertebral osteophytosis and osteoarthritis, Schmorl's nodes, muscle origin robusticity and new bone formation at entheses and syndesmoses, and osteoarthritis at the elbow and shoulder joints provide evidence for carrying, lifting, and paddling or rowing. The presence of accessory sacral facets also may be stress-related. In addition, the development of accessory articular facets on the metatarsals and proximal pedal phalanges may indicate activity-induced stress from hyperdorsiflexion of the toes in habitual kneeling, such as when river canoeing.

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