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Class Notes: Bioarchaeology

Tuesday: November 1, 2011

Week 8: Diet I,Teeth, & 3D Analysis


Fall break, woot woot!


Incredibly detailed discussed about biomechanical analysis and bone geometry continued. Visual aids would be helpful but I currently don’t have the time to whip them out for you. Just imagine that thinner cortexes may mean the force applied is more torsional, since the cortex is being positioned away from the centroid. Imagine a bone cross-section to have a small medullary cavity, which would indicate compressive forces. Bending forces would show both, as the bone builds a rigid frame to buffer against the directional forces.

After we cleaned up that slightly denser topic, we started on diet. Diet is the food that is actually eaten, and subsistence includes the behavior and resources associated with getting the diet. Indicators of subsistence include:

  • Tools and landscape modification (irrigation canals, for instance)
  • Hearths and middens (evidence of plants and animals)
  • Settlement patterns and architecture (temporary nomadic foragers or sedentary agriculturalists)
There are also indicators of diet itself:
  • Coprolites
  • Stable isotopes and trace elements
  • Dental macrowear (hard or soft diet), microwear (abrasive or smooth diet), and pathology (cariogenic diet or not). This will also help interpreting how food was processed (subsistence).
See other entries with similar topics:

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