Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This project considers the status and health experiences of subadults in Late Bronze-Iron II northwestern Iran (1450 – 800 B.C.E.) using osteological and archaeological analysis. It investigates how wealth, status, and health interact with the rise of fortified citadels during ca. 1450 – 1000 B.C.E. and the beginning of urbanization and imperial conflict ca. 1000 – 800 B.C.E. First, I analyze subadult skeletal remains, focusing on cribra orbitalia, a stress marker that has been linked with a wide array of causes, including anemia, malaria, and parasite infection. Second, I consider the wider context of where these subadults were buried and how they may have lived, by analyzing, grave type, associated personal materials, and burial goods. A biocultural approach is applied to thread together the concepts of subadults in archaeology, mortuary practice, social status, age estimation, and skeletal stress. I analyzed 64 subadult skeletons from three contemporaneous skeletal samples from two archaeological sites: 5 from the cemetery context of Dinkha Tepe (1450 – 800 B.C.E.); 26 from the cemetery of Hasanlu (1450 – 800 B.C.E.); and 33 from the destruction level of Hasanlu (c. 800 B.C.E.). At the regional center of Hasanlu, a cemetery was located on the Low Mound outside of the fortified citadel whereas the subadults recovered from the destruction level had sought refuge on the High Mound during a military conflict. The cemetery at the smaller provincial town of Dinkha Tepe was likely located just outside of the town. Results indicate that the relationship between stress and social status as expressed in burial context, grave goods, and other material culture was complex. The cemetery context included more infants and children than adolescents, whereas the destruction level sample included more children and adolescents and fewer infants. Data showed cribra orbitalia was more frequent in the cemetery population at Hasanlu than in the destruction level or cemetery population at Dinkha Tepe. Cemetery burials do not appear to be segregated by age or elite status. Social status as assessed in this dissertation was not a mitigating factor for cribra orbitalia. Skeletal and archaeological data together present a more holistic picture than from either source independently.
Espenlaub, Stacey O'neill, "In The Eyes Of The Beholder: Cribra Orbitalia, Status, And Burial Practice In Late Bronze And Iron Age Iranian Subadults" (2021). Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations. 5211.