Health Status in Early Modern Somali People from their Skeletal Remains
International Journal of Archaeology
Volume 2, Issue 3, November 2014, Pages: 12-16
Received: Nov. 17, 2014; Accepted: Dec. 3, 2014; Published: Dec. 15, 2014
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Author
Hisashi Fujita, Department of Bioanthropology, Niigata College of Nursing, Joetsu, 943-0147, Japan
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Abstract
This study discusses the paleohealth of Somali men who lived between the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century and whose skeletal remains are stored at the University of Cambridge. These materials were divided into an early middle age group and a late middle age group based on the degree of cranial suture closure. Physical anthropological methods were used to examine their caries, periodontal disease antemortem tooth loss (AMTL), dental attrition level, alveolar bone loss, enamel hypoplasia, cribra orbitalia, and cranial porotic hyperostosis. There were limitations, such as the small number of individuals examined, all the individuals were men, and the postcranial skeletons were not examinable. This study observed the following findings regarding the paleohealth of Somalis from the end of the 19th century to the early 20th century: (1) the caries rate was low, (2) there was onset of periodontal disease and it progressed with aging, (3) the number of missing teeth was low, (4) the dental attrition level was lower than the level in Nigerians, and (5) there was minimal change in stress markers with aging, and only a small number of individuals exhibited severe stress markers. The results led to the speculation that the nutritional status was generally poor in Somali individuals examined in this study and that the mortality rates were high in newborns, infants, and young children, which resulted in deaths in individuals with severe stress markers before adulthood.
Keywords
Dental Diseases, Aging, Stress Markers, Somali, Human Skeletal Remains, Paleoepidemiology
To cite this article
Hisashi Fujita, Health Status in Early Modern Somali People from their Skeletal Remains, International Journal of Archaeology. Vol. 2, No. 3, 2014, pp. 12-16. doi: 10.11648/j.ija.20140203.11
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