Publications by authors named "Marc F Oxenham"

17 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

"Lest we forget": An overview of Australia's response to the recovery and identification of unrecovered historic military remains.

Forensic Sci Int 2021 Oct 4;328:111042. Epub 2021 Oct 4.

School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia; School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is responsible for the recovery and identification of its historic casualties. With over 30,000 still unrecovered from past conflicts including World War One (WW1) and World War Two (WWII), the Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force have teams that research, recover, identify and oversee the burial (or reburial) of the remains of soldiers and airmen who continue to be found each year. The Royal Australian Navy is also responsible for its unrecovered casualties. Collectively the priorities of the various services within the ADF are the respectful recovery and treatment of the dead, thorough forensic identification efforts, resolution for families and honouring the ADF's proud history of service and sacrifice. What is unique about the approach of the ADF is that the respective services retain responsibility for their historic losses, while a joint approach is taken on policies and in the utilisation of the pool of forensic specialists. Section One describes the process undertaken by the Australian Army in the recovery, identification and burial or repatriation of soldiers through its specialised unit Unrecovered War Casualties - Army (UWC-A). Section Two describes the role of the Royal Australian Air Force in the recovery of aircraft and service personnel through their specialised unit Historic Unrecovered War Casualties - Air Force (HUWC-AF). An overview of the operations of each service and case studies is presented for each section.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2021.111042DOI Listing
October 2021

Forager and farmer evolutionary adaptations to malaria evidenced by 7000 years of thalassemia in Southeast Asia.

Sci Rep 2021 Mar 11;11(1):5677. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

School of Archaeology and Anthropology, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

Thalassemias are inherited blood disorders that are found in high prevalences in the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. These diseases provide varying levels of resistance to malaria and are proposed to have emerged as an adaptive response to malaria in these regions. The transition to agriculture in the Holocene has been suggested to have influenced the selection for thalassemia in the Mediterranean as land clearance for farming encouraged interaction between Anopheles mosquitos, the vectors for malaria, and human groups. Here we document macroscopic and microscopic skeletal evidence for the presence of thalassemia in both hunter-gatherer (Con Co Ngua) and early agricultural (Man Bac) populations in northern Vietnam. Firstly, our findings demonstrate that thalassemia emerged prior to the transition to agriculture in Mainland Southeast Asia, from at least the early seventh millennium BP, contradicting a long-held assumption that agriculture was the main driver for an increase in malaria in Southeast Asia. Secondly, we describe evidence for significant malarial burden in the region during early agriculture. We argue that the introduction of farming into the region was not the initial driver of the selection for thalassemia, as it may have been in other regions of the world.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-83978-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7952380PMC
March 2021

Asymmetric midshaft femur remodeling in an adult male with left sided hip joint ankylosis, Metal Period Nagsabaran, Philippines.

Int J Paleopathol 2020 12 30;31:14-22. Epub 2020 Aug 30.

School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, 44 Linnaeus Way, Canberra, ACT, 2601 Australia; Department of Archaeology, University of Aberdeen, St. Mary's, Elphinstone Road, Aberdeen, AB24 3UF, Scotland, United Kingdom.

Objective: This study investigated microstructural changes of the right and left midshaft femur in an archaeological individual afflicted with left-sided hip joint ankylosis to assess whether increased cortical porosity was present as a result of leg disuse.

Materials: The individual is a middle-aged adult male excavated from the Metal Period (∼2000 BP) Nagsabaran, Luzon Island, Philippines.

Methods: Following standard examination of femur gross anatomy and differential diagnosis of the hip joint fusion, ∼1 cm thick posterior midshaft femur samples were removed for microstructural examination. Using static histomorphometry, bone multi-cellular unit activity from Haversian canal (vascular pore) density, area, and circularity was reconstructed. Spatial positioning of Haversian canals was mapped using Geographic Information Systems software. Phosphate, carbonate, and carbonate:phosphate ratios were obtained using synchrotron-sourced Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy.

Results: The left femur had greater cortical pore density, with smaller and rounder vascular canals, in addition to lower matrix levels of phosphate and carbonate, when compared to the right femur.

Conclusions: Our data indicate compromised bone tissue in the left femur, and conform to expected bone functional adaptation paradigms of remodeling responses to pathological and biomechanical changes.

Significance: The preservation of this individual's hip abnormality created a unique opportunity to evaluate intra-skeletal bone health asymmetry, which may help other researchers evaluate the presence of limb disuse in archaeological samples.

Limitations: A lack of lower limb data limits our interpretations to femur remodeling only.

Suggestions For Further Research: Future research efforts should aim to examine the presence of remodeling changes in all bones of the lower limb.

Layunin: Gamit ang buto ng magkabilang pemur ng isang taong natagpuan sa isang archaeological site na may sakit na ankylosis sa kaliwang balakang, pinag-aralan ang iba't-ibang microstructures galing sa gitnang bahagi o midshaft ng pemur upang malaman kung may makikitang mataas na cortical porosity ang buto dahil hindi ito malimit gamitin.

Gamit: Ang pinag-aaralang buto ay galing sa isang indibidwal na tinatayang middle-age na lalaki na namuhay noong Panahon ng Metal (∼2000 BP) sa Nagsabaran, Cagayan, Republika ng Pilipinas.

Pamamaraan: Matapos ang unang pagkilatis sa femur at ang pagkilala ng sakit sa balakang, kumuha ng ∼1 sentimetro ng buto galing sa midshaft ng pemur upang lalong mapag-aralan ang kanyang microstructure. Gamit ang static histomorphometry, napag-aralan ang mga naiwang bakas ng multi-cellular unit activity ayon sa kapal, laki at pagkakabilog ng Haversian canal (vascular pore). Gumamit din ng Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software upang mapag-aralan ang kaugnayan ng posisyon ng Haversian canal. Panghuli, gumamit din ng synchroton-sourced Fourier transform infrared (sFTIR) microspectroscopy upang makuha ang bilang ng phosphate, carbonate, at carbonate:phosphate ratio.

Resulta: Napag-alaman na ang kaliwang pemur ay mayroong higit na maraming cortical pores, maliit at mabilog na vascular canals, at mababang bilang ng phosphate, carbonate kung ihahambing sa kanang pemur.

Konklusyon: Ayon sa aming datos, ang kaliwang pemur ay umaayon sa mga katangian ng isang butong may sakit. Sumunod din ito sa inaasahang bone functional adaptation paradigms of remodeling ng buto dahil may sakit at hindi nagamit.

Kahalagahan: Dahil maganda ang pagkakalibing ng buto ng balakang, nagkaroon ng pagkakataong makilatis ang kalusugan ng sinaunang-tao sa pamamagitan ng pag-aaral ng kalusugan ng buto. Dagdag pa, makakatulong din ito upang malaman kung ibang mananaliksik ang pag-aaral ng ibang butong hindi nagagamit mula sa archaeological site.

Limitasyon: Dahil walang nakuhang ibang buto mula sa binti at paa, ang pemur lang ang naimbestigahan.

Mungkahi Para Sa Mga Susunod Na Pag-aaral: Kung magkakaroon ng pagkakataon sa susunod, dapat maimbistigahan ang lahat ng buto ng binti (lower limb).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2020.07.003DOI Listing
December 2020

A paleoepidemiological approach to the osteological paradox: Investigating stress, frailty and resilience through cribra orbitalia.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2020 10 24;173(2):205-217. Epub 2020 Jun 24.

School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, Acton, Australian Capital Territory, Australia.

Objectives: The Osteological Paradox posits that skeletal lesions may differentially be interpreted as representing resilience or frailty. However, specific consideration of the etiologies and demographic distributions of individual skeletal indicators can inform the criteria on which to differentiate stress, frailty, and resilience. Adopting a life history approach and adaptive plasticity model, this study proposes a framework for the analysis and interpretation of a commonly reported skeletal lesion, cribra orbitalia, which considers the underlying mechanisms of the condition, the clinical and epidemiological literature relating to anemia and malnutrition, and the bioarcheological evidence.

Materials And Methods: Data were extracted from the European (n = 33 populations) and American (n = 19 populations) modules of the Global History of Health Project. Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analyses were applied, where time was the age-at-death, and the factor or covariate was presence or absence of cribra orbitalia.

Results: Of 37 samples that produced significant results, 21 demonstrated a change in relationship when the subadults were excluded from analysis. When subadults were included, individuals with cribra orbitalia present had statistically significant lower survival time. With subadults excluded, the relationship either became nonsignificant or was reversed.

Discussion: We demonstrate that in many cases the inclusion of subadults in analysis impacts upon the apparent mortality associated with cribra orbitalia. Examining cribra orbitalia in children and adults has two separate goals: in children, to determine the prevalence and risk of death associated with active lesions and stress; and in adults, to determine whether childhood health assaults that cause cribra orbitalia are associated with frailty or resilience.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.24091DOI Listing
October 2020

Domestication and large animal interactions: Skeletal trauma in northern Vietnam during the hunter-gatherer Da But period.

PLoS One 2019 4;14(9):e0218777. Epub 2019 Sep 4.

School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

The aim of this paper is to test the hypothesis that healed traumatic injuries in the pre-Neolithic assemblage of Con Co Ngua, northern Vietnam (c. 6800-6200 cal BP) are consistent with large wild animal interactions prior to their domestication. The core sample included 110 adult (aged ≥ 18 years) individuals, while comparisons are made with an additional six skeletal series from Neolithic through to Iron Age Vietnam, Thailand, and Mongolia. All post cranial skeletal elements were assessed for signs of healed trauma and identified cases were further x-rayed. Crude trauma prevalence (14/110, 12.7%) was not significantly different between males (8/52) and females (5/37) (χ2 = 0.061, p = 0.805). Nor were there significant differences in the prevalence of fractured limbs, although males displayed greater rates of lower limb bone trauma than females. Further, distinct from females, half the injured males suffered vertebral fractures, consistent with high-energy trauma. The first hypothesis is supported, while some support for the sexual divisions of labour was found. The prevalence and pattern of fractured limbs at CCN when compared with other Southeast and East Asian sites is most similar to the agropastoral site of Lamadong, China. The potential for skeletal trauma to assess animal trapping and herding practices prior to domestication in the past is discussed.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0218777PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6726200PMC
March 2020

New distance-based exponential regression method and equations for estimating the chronology of linear enamel hypoplasia (LEH) defects on the anterior dentition.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2019 03 26;168(3):510-520. Epub 2018 Dec 26.

School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

Objectives: We present a new distance-based exponential regression approach based on published histological data to refine the objectivity, accuracy, and precision of age estimates of LEH defect formation on the anterior dentition.

Methods: Published histological data of anterior tooth crown growth for two samples (northern European and southern African) were fitted with exponential trendlines to construct exponential regression equations for each tooth type. A theoretical comparison of the age estimates produced by two commonly used methods (decile chart and linear regression), and those based on the exponential regression equations presented in this article were undertaken. Paired-samples t-tests were used to determine whether the estimates obtained by these methods differed significantly.

Results: Exponential regression equations were able to accurately replicate age estimates produced by the decile-chart method. For defects that fell precisely on a decile, estimates differed by 1-23 days. Estimates based on the linear regression method were consistently younger by 4.5-16 months. For defects that fell within deciles, the exponential regression equation estimates, when different, were 12 days to 4 months older than those yielded by the decile method.

Conclusions: By combining currently published histological data on anterior tooth crown growth with a regression approach, it is possible to produce more accurate age estimates than yielded by methods that do not rely on histological data. Furthermore, this approach also greatly improves the objectivity, precision and replicability of results, especially for defects that fall between deciles, when compared to the decile chart method.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23764DOI Listing
March 2019

Cranio-morphometric and aDNA corroboration of the Austronesian dispersal model in ancient Island Southeast Asia: Support from Gua Harimau, Indonesia.

PLoS One 2018 22;13(6):e0198689. Epub 2018 Jun 22.

School of Archeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

The Austronesian language is spread from Madagascar in the west, Island Southeast Asia (ISEA) in the east (e.g. the Philippines and Indonesian archipelagoes) and throughout the Pacific, as far east as Easter Island. While it seems clear that the remote ancestors of Austronesian speakers originated in Southern China, and migrated to Taiwan with the development of rice farming by c. 5500 BP and onto the northern Philippines by c. 4000 BP (the Austronesian Dispersal Hypothesis or ADH), we know very little about the origins and emergence of Austronesian speakers in the Indonesian Archipelago. Using a combination of cranial morphometric and ancient mtDNA analyses on a new dataset from Gua Hairmau, that spans the pre-Neolithic through to Metal Period (5712-5591cal BP to 1864-1719 cal BP), we rigorously test the validity of the ADH in ISEA. A morphometric analysis of 23 adult male crania, using 16 of Martin's standard measurements, was carried out with results compared to an East and Southeast Asian dataset of 30 sample populations spanning the Late Pleistocene through to Metal Period, in addition to 39 modern samples from East and Southeast Asia, near Oceania and Australia. Further, 20 samples were analyzed for ancient mtDNA and assigned to identified haplogroups. We demonstrate that the archaeological human remains from Gua Harimau cave, Sumatra, Indonesia provide clear evidence for at least two (cranio-morphometrically defined) and perhaps even three (in the context of the ancient mtDNA results) distinct populations from two separate time periods. The results of these analyses provide substantive support for the ADH model in explaining the origins and population history of ISEA peoples.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0198689PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6014653PMC
January 2019

Estimation of sex and stature using anthropometry of the upper extremity in an Australian population.

Forensic Sci Int 2018 Jun 16;287:220.e1-220.e10. Epub 2018 Mar 16.

The Australian National University, Australia. Electronic address:

Stature and a further 8 anthropometric dimensions were recorded from the arms and hands of a sample of 96 staff and students from the Australian National University and The University of Newcastle, Australia. These dimensions were used to create simple and multiple logistic regression models for sex estimation and simple and multiple linear regression equations for stature estimation of a contemporary Australian population. Overall sex classification accuracies using the models created were comparable to similar studies. The stature estimation models achieved standard errors of estimates (SEE) which were comparable to and in many cases lower than those achieved in similar research. Generic, non sex-specific models achieved similar SEEs and R values to the sex-specific models indicating stature may be accurately estimated when sex is unknown.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.017DOI Listing
June 2018

The D0-14/D ratio: A new paleodemographic index and equation for estimating total fertility rates.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2018 03 21;165(3):471-479. Epub 2017 Nov 21.

School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia.

Objectives: The objectives of this study were to develop a new subadult-adult ratio for application to sites with good infant representation and to produce an equation to estimate the total fertility rate for a population based on the age-at-death ratio. A new approach is required as current methods exclude the 0-4 years age category due to presumed underenumeration of infants. While this is true for some skeletal samples, others experience good infant representation.

Materials And Methods: Using age-at-death data and total fertility rates for 52 countries from the United Nations database for the year 1960, we examined the correlation between three age-at-death ratios and the fertility rate. We also utilized linear regression to determine an equation for calculating total fertility rate from the ratio.

Results: We achieved a correlation of 0.848 between our D0-14/D Ratio and actual fertility rates. This correlation was significantly higher (p < .05) than the other ratios examined, including the d5-14/d20+ by Bocquet-Appel and Masset () and the P index by Bocquet-Appel ().

Discussion: The exclusion of infants can result in inaccurate demographic measures, particularly where subadults aged over 5 years of age experience robust survivorship. In addition to providing a solution for sites with good infant representation, this study indicates that the 0-4 years of age category possesses great predictive power when compared to other age categories. The regression equation provides a total fertility rate which is comparable with data regardless of their temporal origin. This method will provide more accurate demographic measures for bioarcheological sites with good infant preservation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23365DOI Listing
March 2018

Sex, Parity, and Scars: A Meta-analytic Review.

J Forensic Sci 2018 Jan 24;63(1):201-206. Epub 2017 Feb 24.

School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 2601, Australia.

The ability to identify whether a female has been pregnant or has given birth has significant implications for forensic investigations and bioarcheological research. The meaning of "scars of parturition," their causes, and their significance are a matter of contention, with a substantial literature of re-evaluations and tests of the relationship between pelvic scarring and parity. The aim of this study was to use meta-analytic techniques (the methodological approach) to test whether pelvic scarring, namely dorsal pubic pitting and the preauricular groove, is a predictor of parity and sex. Meta-analyses indicated that neither dorsal pubic pitting nor the preauricular groove are predictors of parity status, while dorsal pubic pitting is a moderate predictor of sex. A weak relationship between dorsal pubic pitting and parity was identified, but this is believed to be a product of the moderate relationship with sex. This calls into question whether any causal relationship between parity and pelvic scarring exists.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1556-4029.13478DOI Listing
January 2018

Revisiting the Phenice technique sex classification results reported by MacLaughlin and Bruce (1990).

Am J Phys Anthropol 2016 Jan 25;159(1):182-3. Epub 2015 Aug 25.

School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 2601, Australia.

Phenice (Am J Phys Anthropol 30 (1969):297-301) reported a success rate of 96% for his method of sex determination based on three morphological features of the pelvis. Numerous studies have tested and evaluated the method with affirmative results. The results of the study by MacLaughlin and Bruce (J Forensic Sci 35 (1990):1384-1392) were inconsistent with other studies, reporting far lower rates of accuracy and a greater degree of interobserver error. The authors believe that this may be the result of the inclusion of an "ambiguous" classification category. Revised modelling using forced classification of sex provides much higher classification rates with the implication that the poor results reported by MacLaughlin and Bruce were due to methodological error for the most part.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22839DOI Listing
January 2016

Letter to the editor: Ban Non Wat as a test of the two-layer hypothesis.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2016 Feb 26;159(2):355-7. Epub 2015 Sep 26.

School of Health Science, Sapporo Medical University, Sapporo 060-8556, Japan.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22872DOI Listing
February 2016

Demographic transitions and migration in prehistoric East/Southeast Asia through the lens of nonmetric dental traits.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2014 Sep 21;155(1):45-65. Epub 2014 Jun 21.

School of Health Science, Sapporo Medical University, Sapporo, 060-8556, Japan.

The aim of this study is to examine and assess the nonmetric dental trait evidence for the population history of East and Southeast Asia and, more specifically, to test the two-layer hypothesis for the peopling of Southeast Asia. Using a battery of 21 nonmetric dental traits we examine 7,247 individuals representing 58 samples drawn from East and Southeast Asian populations inhabiting the region from the late Pleistocene, through the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, and into the historic and modern periods. The chief data reduction technique is a neighbor-joining tree generated from the triangular matrix of mean measure of divergence values. Principal findings indicated a major dichotomization of the dataset into (1) an early Southeast Asian sample with close affinities to modern Australian and Melanesian populations and (2) a very distinct grouping of ancient and modern Northeast Asians. Distinct patterns of clinal variation among Neolithic and post-Neolithic Mainland Southeast Asian samples suggest a center to periphery spread of genes into the region from Northeast Asia. This pattern is consistent with archaeological and linguistic evidence for demic diffusion that accompanied agriculturally driven population expansion in the Neolithic. Later Metal Age affinities between Island and Mainland coastal populations with Northeast Asian series is likely a consequence of a South China Sea interaction sphere operating from at least 500 BCE, if not from the Neolithic. Such results provide extensive support for the two-layer hypothesis to account for the population history of the region.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22537DOI Listing
September 2014

The neolithic demographic transition and oral health: The Southeast Asian experience.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2013 Oct 3;152(2):197-208. Epub 2013 Sep 3.

School of Archaeology and Anthropology, College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.

The purpose of this article is to present new oral health data from Neolithic An Son, southern Vietnam, in the context of (1) a reassessment of published data on other Neolithic, Bronze, and Iron Age Southeast Asian dental series, and (2) predictions of the Neolithic Demographic Transition (NDT). To this end, frequencies for three oral conditions (caries, antemortem tooth loss, and alveolar lesions) were investigated for seven Southeast Asian adult dental series from Thailand and Vietnam with respect to time period, age-at-death and sex. A clear pattern of elevated rates for oral disease in the Neolithic followed by a marked improvement in oral health during the Bronze and Iron Ages was observed. Moreover, rates of caries and antemortem tooth loss for females were almost without exception higher than that for males in all samples. The consensus view among Southeast Asian bioarchaeologists that oral health did not decline with the adoption/intensification of agriculture in Southeast Asia, can no longer be supported. In light of evidence for (1) the low cariogenicity of rice; (2) the physiological predisposition of females (particularly when pregnant) to poorer oral health; and (3) health predictions of the NDT model with respect to elevated levels of fertility, the most plausible chief explanation for the observed patterns in oral health in Southeast Asia is increased levels of fertility during the Neolithic, followed by a decline in fertility during the subsequent Bronze and Iron Ages.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22343DOI Listing
October 2013

Survival against the odds: Modeling the social implications of care provision to seriously disabled individuals.

Int J Paleopathol 2011 Mar 29;1(1):35-42. Epub 2011 Mar 29.

School of Archaeology & Anthropology, College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.

Survival of an adult male (M9) with juvenile-onset quadriplegia in Neolithic Vietnam indicates provision of continuous care from his community, and adds to the growing literature documenting survival of disabled individuals in prehistory. Although the role of care-giving in achieving survival is occasionally acknowledged it is rarely elaborated, and a bioarchaeological model of care is missing. Contextualized analysis of specific instances of care can offer unique insights into contemporary culture, as the case of M9 illustrates. The 'bioarchaeology of care' identifies likely functional impacts of the pathology; possible and probable health challenges encountered; and nature of the support required to sustain life. Consideration of these factors in relation to lifeways practices and behaviours extends and enriches archaeological observations of M9's community. Additionally, M9's survival of extreme disability suggests certain personality traits touching on aspects of identity. Still under development, this new methodology promises to be a valuable heuristic tool.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2011.02.003DOI Listing
March 2011

Oral and physiological paleohealth in cold adapted peoples: Northeast Asia, Hokkaido.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2008 Jan;135(1):64-74

School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Faculty of Arts, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

This paper examines variables useful in reconstructing oral (caries, antemortem tooth loss, alveolar defects) and physiological (cribra orbitalia, linear enamel hypoplasia) well-being in two bioarchaeological assemblages from Hokkaido, Japan: Okhotsk (n = 37 individuals) and Jomon (n = 60). Findings are compared and contrasted with each other, with published series from Honshu Japan, and samples from climatically near-equivalent Alaska. It was found that more meaningful comparisons of Hokkaido paleohealth could be made with Alaskan material, rather than the more southerly Jomon. Results were ambiguous with respect to physiological well-being. Low levels of LEH in the cold-adapted samples suggest operating in arctic and subarctic environments with marine-based subsistence regimes is not physiologically expensive. However, the relatively high levels of cribra orbitalia in Hokkaido, relative to Alaska, suggest the picture is not straightforward: the reasons for elevated cribra orbitalia in Hokkaido are unclear. The subarctic and arctic samples formed three broadly similar groupings in terms of oral health profiles: (1) Aleuts and Eskimo; (2) Ipiutak and Tigara; (3) Hokkaido Jomon, Okhotsk, and Kodiak Island. Differences between these groupings could be explained with a combination of sample demographics and subsistence orientations. The extremely high frequency of caries in one sample, caribou hunting Ipiutak, may have been influenced by factors such as low levels of dietary magnesium and potentially cariogenic foodstuffs, such as preparations of caribou stomach contents. It was concluded that oral health profiles are potentially sensitive to differences in subsistence strategies among cold-adapted hunter-gatherers, although they lack predictive value.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.20709DOI Listing
January 2008

Skeletal evidence for the emergence of infectious disease in bronze and iron age northern Vietnam.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2005 Apr;126(4):359-76

School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.

Human skeletal evidence for the emergence of chronic infectious disease in northern Vietnam is examined. The sample includes the remains of 192 individuals representing the Mid-Holocene and Bronze to Iron Ages. The objective is to see if the transition from sedentary, foraging, coastally oriented economies to centralized chiefdoms with attendant development and intensification of agriculture, trade, metal technologies, warfare, and population increase was accompanied by an emergence of and/or increase in infectious disease. It was found that skeletal evidence for infectious disease was absent in the Mid-Holocene, while over 10% of the Metal period sample exhibited lesions consistent with either infectious disease or immune system disorders. Factors potentially contributing to the emergence of infectious disease in northern Vietnam in the Metal period include: increased contact with bacterial or fungal pathogens either directly or by way of vertebrate and/or arthropod vectors; higher levels of debilitation and/or decreased levels of immunocompetence in the Metal period; and evolution of pathogens present in Mid-Holocene human hosts into more virulent forms in the Metal period. The first two factors may be related to historically and archaeologically documented major demographic (Han colonizing efforts) and economic (agricultural intensification) changes in the region during the Metal period.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.20048DOI Listing
April 2005
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