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Title: Health and diet in Upper Nubia through climate and political change : a bioarchaeological investigation of health and living conditions at ancient Amara West between 1300 and 800 BC
Author: Binder, Michaela
ISNI:       0000 0004 5351 7775
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis aims to investigate the impact of environmental and socio-political changes on health and living conditions in the ancient settlement of Amara West, Sudan (1300–800BC) through a diachronic comparison of selected indicators of disease and physiological stress on skeletal human remains. The town served as the administrative capital of the province Upper Nubia during the later phase of New Kingdom Egyptian occupation of Nubia (1300–1070BC). Despite the end of Egyptian control, settlement in the area continued until the 8th century. Palaeoenvironmental evidence from the region indicates that the period of occupation of the site further coincided with general climatic deterioration through increased aridification during the late 2nd and early 1st millennium BC. Whether these climatic and political changes would have had an affect on health and living conditions at Amara West is explored through comparing multiple markers of physiological stress and disease (stature, orbital changes, dental disease, evidence of nonspecific infection, respiratory diseases, endocranial changes, trauma, osteoarthritis) recorded through macroscopic examination of skeletal human remains from the New Kingdom (1300–1070BC, N=36) and post-New Kingdom period (1070–800BC, N=144). Analysis of stable oxygen and carbon isotopes was also included in the study. Applying a bio-cultural approach, interpretation of the results is complemented by contextual data drawn from ongoing research in the cemeteries, settlement and surrounding habitat. Despite limitations due to the bias in sample size, the systematic statistical comparison revealed several tentative trends such as decreasing stature, increased levels of osteoarthritis, dental pathologies, pulmonary diseases, post-cranial fractures and high levels of sub-adult mortality. Changes in stable oxygen isotope composition indicate increasingly arid conditions during the post-New Kingdom period. In light of palaeoenvironmental and isotopic data, the palaeopathological results may therefore reflect the health consequences of severe environmental changes as well as changes in settlement structure.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available