Publications by authors named "Margaret Judd"

10 Publications

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Commingled crypts: Comparative health among Byzantine monastics in the Levant.

Authors:
Margaret A Judd

Am J Phys Anthropol 2020 05 7;172(1):70-86. Epub 2020 Jan 7.

Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Objectives: Early Byzantine (A.D. 330-842) monastic rules stipulated that entrants relinquished familial connections, personal belongings and secular relationships to become part of the ascetic collective that continued in death, resulting in bioarchaeological marginalization, as was the case of the monastics excavated from the Chapel of Robebus at Mount Nebo, Jordan (ca. A.D. 491-640). It was hypothesized that compared to contemporary monastic groups, the Mount Nebo monastics experienced poorer health and gravitated to Mount Nebo, owing to its association with the Prophet Moses and proximity to the Dead Sea, Livias baths and Jordan River, all associated with curative benefits, especially for those suffering from leprosy.

Materials And Methods: The commingled remains of 73 adult males from Mount Nebo and the articulated skeletons (n = 27) from the Sanctuary of Agios Lot at Deir 'Ain 'Abata (Jordan) were assessed for paleopathology, then compared with a contemporary commingled group from the Monastery of Saint Euthymius at Khan-el-Ahmar (Judean Desert) (n = 117).

Results: No skeletal evidence of leprosy was observed among the groups. Most Mount Nebo individuals did not reach an older age, yet injuries, severe osteoarthritis, lower leg osteoperiostitis and antemortem tooth loss were common. The paleopathological profile was similar at Deir 'Ain 'Abata, but paleopathology was negligible at Khan-el-Ahmar.

Conclusions: The similar paleopathological profiles of the Jordanian monastic groups suggest that the proximity to the Dead Sea may have attracted monastics to both sites, in addition to spirituality, but leprosy was not a factor based on the skeletal evidence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23993DOI Listing
May 2020

The formation of human populations in South and Central Asia.

Science 2019 09;365(6457)

Earth Institute, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland.

By sequencing 523 ancient humans, we show that the primary source of ancestry in modern South Asians is a prehistoric genetic gradient between people related to early hunter-gatherers of Iran and Southeast Asia. After the Indus Valley Civilization's decline, its people mixed with individuals in the southeast to form one of the two main ancestral populations of South Asia, whose direct descendants live in southern India. Simultaneously, they mixed with descendants of Steppe pastoralists who, starting around 4000 years ago, spread via Central Asia to form the other main ancestral population. The Steppe ancestry in South Asia has the same profile as that in Bronze Age Eastern Europe, tracking a movement of people that affected both regions and that likely spread the distinctive features shared between Indo-Iranian and Balto-Slavic languages.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aat7487DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6822619PMC
September 2019

A microscopic evaluation of Paget's disease of bone from a Byzantine monastic crypt in Jordan.

Int J Paleopathol 2019 03 25;24:293-298. Epub 2018 Aug 25.

University of Pittsburgh, Department of Anthropology, 3302 Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, PA, 15260, United States. Electronic address:

Paget's disease of bone (PDB) is a metabolic bone disease that has been present in human populations for over 2000 years, with the earliest cases reported in Western Europe. Now present globally, PDB is one of the most common metabolic bone diseases in modern populations. This study details possible PDB of an adult male (MNR-EN Skull 3) with abnormally thickened cranial bones (17 mm). The skull was recovered from commingled skeletal remains excavated from the Robebus crypt at the Byzantine monastery of Mount Nebo, Jordan (c. late 4-7 C). Micro-CT imaging and histological sections of the bone samples revealed an abnormal pattern of bone remodeling, with atypical osteon formation, convoluted and enlarged trabeculae, and an overall pattern of highly vascularized bone. Polarized microscopy produced a mix of woven bone and lamellar bone, the mosaic pattern of atypical bone remodeling indicative of PDB. Coupled with the dense, thickened nature of the vault bones, these data suggest that the individual had PDB. To our knowledge, this represents the earliest evidence of PDB in the Middle East supported by micro-analysis, and adds to the emerging paleopathological literature involving commingled skeletal remains and the potential for identifying unique disease processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2018.08.005DOI Listing
March 2019

Life in the fast lane: Settled pastoralism in the Central Eurasian Steppe during the Middle Bronze Age.

Am J Hum Biol 2018 07 19;30(4):e23129. Epub 2018 Apr 19.

Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260.

Objectives: We tested the hypothesis that the purported unstable climate in the South Urals region during the Middle Bronze Age (MBA) resulted in health instability and social stress as evidenced by skeletal response.

Methods: The skeletal sample (n = 99) derived from Kamennyi Ambar 5 (KA-5), a MBA kurgan cemetery (2040-1730 cal. BCE, 2 sigma) associated with the Sintashta culture. Skeletal stress indicators assessed included cribra orbitalia, porotic hyperostosis, dental enamel hypoplasia, and tibia periosteal new bone growth. Dental disease (caries, abscess, calculus, and periodontitis) and trauma were scored. Results were compared to regional data from the nearby Samara Valley, spanning the Early to Late Bronze Age (EBA, LBA).

Results: Lesions were minimal for the KA-5 and MBA-LBA groups except for periodontitis and dental calculus. No unambiguous weapon injuries or injuries associated with violence were observed for the KA-5 group; few injuries occurred at other sites. Subadults (<18 years) formed the majority of each sample. At KA-5, subadults accounted for 75% of the sample with 10% (n = 10) estimated to be 14-18 years of age.

Conclusions: Skeletal stress markers and injuries were uncommon among the KA-5 and regional groups, but a MBA-LBA high subadult mortality indicates elevated frailty levels and inability to survive acute illnesses. Following an optimal weaning program, subadults were at risk for physiological insult and many succumbed. Only a small number of individuals attained biological maturity during the MBA, suggesting that a fast life history was an adaptive regional response to a less hospitable and perhaps unstable environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.23129DOI Listing
July 2018

Maternal environment and craniofacial growth: geometric morphometric analysis of mandibular shape changes with in utero thyroxine overexposure in mice.

J Anat 2018 07 2;233(1):46-54. Epub 2018 Apr 2.

Department of Oral Health Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA.

An estimated 3% of US pregnancies are affected by maternal thyroid dysfunction, with between one and three of every 1000 pregnancies being complicated by overactive maternal thyroid levels. Excess thyroid hormones are linked to neurological impairment and excessive craniofacial variation, affecting both endochondral and intramembranous bone. Using a geometric morphometric approach, this study evaluates the role of in utero thyroxine overexposure on the growth of offspring mandibles in a sample of 241 mice. Canonical variate analysis utilized 16 unilateral mandibular landmarks obtained from 3D micro-computed tomography to assess shape changes between unexposed controls (n = 63) and exposed mice (n = 178). By evaluating shape changes in the mandible among three age groups (15, 20 and 25 days postnatal) and different dosage levels (low, medium and high), this study found that excess maternal thyroxine alters offspring mandibular shape in both age- and dosage-dependent manners. Group differences in overall shape were significant (P < 0.001), and showed major changes in regions of the mandible associated with muscle attachment (coronoid process, gonial angle) and regions of growth largely governed by articulation with the cranial base (condyle) and occlusion (alveolus). These results compliment recent studies demonstrating that maternal thyroxine levels can alter the cranial base and cranial vault of offspring, contributing to a better understanding of both normal and abnormal mandibular development, as well as the medical implications of craniofacial growth and development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/joa.12810DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5987819PMC
July 2018

A truncated temporal styloid process from the Jordanian Ottoman Period: Developmental variant or fracture?

Authors:
Margaret A Judd

Int J Paleopathol 2018 03 23;20:98-103. Epub 2017 Aug 23.

University of Pittsburgh, Department of Anthropology, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, United States. Electronic address:

Styloid process (SP) development and its role in an individual's lived experience plays a negligible role in paleopathological research, although a handful of possible Eagle's syndrome cases have been reported. Here, the development of the stylohyoid chain and the medical research of SP variants are reviewed to inform the differential diagnosis of a probable SP fracture in a young adult male associated with the Ottoman Period (13-19thC) in Jordan. The fracture surface of the right SP is smooth rather than irregular, the coloration is uniform with the surrounding cortical bone staining, and no new bone formation is visible. All features are consistent with a perimortem injury. An unossified stylohyal is a differential diagnosis, while the left elongated SP suggests a predisposition to intrinsic injury. The implications of SP fractures are considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2017.08.002DOI Listing
March 2018

Weaning practices among pastoralists: New evidence of infant feeding patterns from Bronze Age Eurasia.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2017 03 31;162(3):409-422. Epub 2016 Oct 31.

Institute of Northern Development, Tyumen, Russia.

Objectives: This paper investigates infant feeding practices through stable carbon (δ C) and nitrogen (δ N) isotopic analyses of human bone collagen from Kamennyi Ambar 5, a Middle Bronze Age cemetery located in central Eurasia. The results presented are unique for the time period and region, as few cemeteries have been excavated to reveal a demographic cross-section of the population. Studies of weaning among pastoral societies are infrequent and this research adds to our knowledge of the timing, potential supplementary foods, and cessation of breastfeeding practices.

Materials And Methods: Samples were collected from 41 subadults (<15 years) and 27 adults (15+ years). Isotopic reference sets from adult humans as well as faunal remains were utilized as these form the primary and complementary foods fed to infants.

Results: Slight shifts in δ C and δ N values revealed that weaning was a multi-stage process (breastfeeding, weaning, and complete cessation of nursing) that began at 6 months of age, occurred over several years of early childhood, and was completed by 4 years of age.

Discussion: Our results indicate that weaning was a multi-stage process that was unique among late prehistoric pastoralist groups in Eurasia that were dependent on milk products as a supplementary food. Our discussion centers on supporting this hypothesis with modern information on central and east Eurasian herding societies including the age at which complementary foods are introduced, the types of complementary foods, and the timing of the cessation of breastfeeding. Integral to this work is the nature of pastoral economies and their dependence on animal products, the impact of complementary foods on nutrition and health, and how milk processing may have affected nutrition content and digestibility of foods. This research on Eurasian pastoralists provides insights into the complexities of weaning among prehistoric pastoral societies as well as the potential for different complementary foods to be incorporated into infant diets in the past.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23126DOI Listing
March 2017

Preface.

Authors:
Margaret A Judd

Int J Paleopathol 2011 Dec 20;1(3-4):127. Epub 2012 Mar 20.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2012.02.007DOI Listing
December 2011

Investigating health at Kerma: sacrificial versus nonsacrificial individuals.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2008 May;136(1):93-9

Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Purdue University, West Lafayette IN 47907-2059, USA.

This analysis examines heterogeneity in risks by assessing the health status of individuals in two distinct burial contexts from the Nubian site of Kerma: sacrificial (n = 100) and nonsacrificial (n = 190) burial areas dated to the classic Kerma period ( approximately 1750-1500 BC). Indicators of physiological stress that were examined include cribra orbitalia, dental enamel hypoplasia, tibial osteoperiostitis, and femur length. The analysis presented here shows that the people interred in the sacrificial and nonsacrificial burial contexts at Kerma in Upper Nubia had similar health profiles that were comparable with other contemporaneous samples from the region. If sacrificial individuals did not experience the same risk of death as nonsacrificial individuals, it was not evident in the frequencies of nonspecific stress indicators. However, this differential risk of death may be blurred by our inability to examine nonadults for childhood disease. This research demonstrates the complexities involved in understanding the multiple factors that result in heterogeneity in skeletal samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.20781DOI Listing
May 2008

Continuity of interpersonal violence between Nubian communities.

Authors:
Margaret A Judd

Am J Phys Anthropol 2006 Nov;131(3):324-33

Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, USA.

Modern communities affiliated with the same culture have been shown to experience comparable levels of interpersonal violence, no matter what their size. It was hypothesized that a similar relationship would exist among ancient rural and urban people, but that accident-related trauma may be more prominent among rural dwellers due to their activity base. Through an analysis of antemortem trauma, this investigation contrasted the injury profile of Nubian adult villagers (N = 55) from the Kerma period (2500-1750 BC) to that of their urban neighbors (N = 223) at Kerma (2050-1500 BC). The injury pattern associated with interpersonal violence (cranial injury, direct-force ulna fractures, and multiple injuries) was similar between the two samples, as hypothesized. The rural group sustained significantly more nonviolence-related injuries that suggested occupational or environmental influences. The more severe cranial injuries observed among urban people are attributed to a preference for more lethal hand-wielded objects that may have accompanied increasing local tensions and incursions into Egypt during the 17th Dynasty.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.20401DOI Listing
November 2006