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Title: Ancient versus modern health patterns : biological and socioeconomic status differences and similarities between a Hellenistic and a 20th century human burial population from Greece
Author: Vanna, V.
ISNI:       0000 0003 9393 2757
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2011
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The present research offers the rare opportunity to compare the human remains of an ancient (3rd-1st century BC) population from the North Cemetery of Demetrias, Thessaly, and a modern (late 19th-late 20th century AD) one, the Athens Collection, from various cemeteries in Athens, Greece. Its main purpose is to explore the biological similarities and differences between the two populations and among the subsets within each one of them, as these are defined by biosocial parameters, namely sex/gender, and purely social, that is socioeconomic status. An attempt is made to associate biological with social variation through oral pathology and wear and address questions as to whether the health status of burial populations can indeed reflect socioeconomic conditions and status in life. Data analysis produced very conclusive differences between the two populations, and among sex/gender and socioeconomic status groups and suggests that dental caries, antemortem tooth loss, occlusal wear and dental enamel defects are very sensitive indicators of social position and conditions in general. Comparisons between the ancient and the contemporary population reveal that environmental, cultural and socioeconomic circumstances did not have the same effect on all oral conditions. Moreover, variations between the sexes are quite evident in Demetrias and they appear to reflect the inferior social position of both women and female infants/children. In contrast, in Athens, there is no evidence to indicate gender discrimination or favourable treatment of male infants. Social class differentiation manifests itself in the distribution of oral pathology and wear between status groups in both assemblages, but it is clearly more pronounced in Demetrias. Finally, this thesis contributes towards a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between biological and socioeconomic status and of the Hellenistic biocultural history. It also emphasises that analysis of human remains should be carefully contextualised culturally, archaeologically and historically.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available