Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Anthropology

Major Professor

Erin H. Kimmerle, Ph.D.

Keywords

Mortuary practice, Paleodemography, Paleopathology, Physical anthropology, South Florida

Abstract

The bioarchaeology of prehistoric south Florida has been an area of archaeological interest for the last century because of the interplay between ancient populations and the unique environment of the Everglades. The purpose of this study is to analyze the pathology, demography and mortuary practice of the ancient Southeast Florida aboriginal population at Miami One to assess the similarity of Miami One to other south Florida populations during the prehistoric period. The Miami One site (8DA11) is one of many related sites located along the shore of the Miami River. It was continuously occupied from the Late Archaic (ca.1000 B.C.) through the Glades II period (1000 A.D.). Archaeological material associated with the Glades III period (ca. A.D. 1200) was also present. A large quantity of human remains was recovered and half of this collection is being temporarily housed at the University of South Florida.

The burials were secondary and commingled in nature, having been recovered from solution holes which served as natural ossuaries. A total of forty-nine adults and fourteen juveniles are reported. Nineteen cases of osteoarthritis related to age and injury are described. Thirty-two cases of infection are described, including periostitis, osteomyelitis, and a possible treponemal infection. Seven cases of trauma are also present.

Radiographic evidence demonstrates a low frequency of metabolic disruptions in the population. Dental pathology consists mostly of severe attrition, abscessing, calculus and very few caries, all consistent with a hunter-gatherer subsistence pattern. Mortuary data, including demography, pathology, type of burial, burial location and burial artifacts, are compared to that of five other contemporaneous sites and an earlier site associated with the Glades culture in southeast Florida. The data gathered in this study are consistent with those of the six additional sites, indicating that the local culture is indeed part of the larger Glades culture assigned to southeast Florida and that these groups are culturally heterogeneous.

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