The Health and Nutrition of a Medieval Nubian Population

The Impact of Political and Economic Change

Authors

  • DENNIS P. VAN GERVEN,

    1. University of Colorado
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      DENNIS P. VAN GERVEN is Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309.

  • SUSAN GUISE SHERIDAN,

    1. University of NotreDame
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      SUSAN GUISE SHERIDAN is Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556.

  • WILLIAM Y. ADAMS

    1. University ofKentucky
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      WILLIAM Y. ADAMS Is Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506.


Abstract

Human remains from two cemeteries at Kulubnarti in Sudanese Nubia present an ideal opportunity to assess the biological impact of political and economic change. Remains from the early cemetery come from Nubia's medieval period, characterized by political unification and important achievements in art and architecture. Remains from the second cemetery come from the later emergent feudal age, characterized by regional isolation and return to a subsistence economy. Patterns of mortality, growth, development, nutrition, and disease revealed by the remains converge on one conclusion: the transformation from the medieval to the feudal age at Kulubnarti witnessed an improvement in human health and survival.

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