Bioarchaeology and Climate Change
A View from South Asian Prehistory
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University Press of Florida
List of Figures
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List of Tables
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Climate change has long been invoked to explain extinction events, the rise and fall of civilizations, and alterations in productivity in the past. Bioarchaeology, the study of human remains from archaeological settings, offers an important opportunity to address key issues relating to climate and a range of other circumstances. In the last two decades, bioarchaeologists have investigated the consequences of key adaptive shifts on health ...
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With some exceptions for East Asian agricultural populations (Pietrusewsky and Douglas 2001; Oxenham, Thuy, and Cuong 2005; Oxenham and Tayles 2006; Domett and Tayles 2007), research has repeatedly demonstrated that reliance on agriculture in prehistory generally had negative impacts on human populations (Cohen 1977, 1984; Larsen 1995; Lambert 2000; Steckel and Rose 2002; Cohen and Crane-Kramer 2007). ...
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I wish to express my sincere appreciation to Clark Larsen for inviting me to participate in this series and for advice concerning the manuscript. I particularly want to thank John Lukacs, who has remained a principle contributor to my enthusiasm and love for biological anthropology and for South Asian bioarchaeology. He has been a tireless supporter and friendly critic throughout this process. ...
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The most widely known period in South Asian prehistory is the “Indus Age”—a term that encompasses settled life in Pakistan and north-western India from incipient agricultural production after 7000 b.c. to the beginning of the Iron Age about 1000 b.c. (Possehl 2002). The term “Indus civilization” refers to a time during the latter half of the third millennium (2400–1900 b.c.) when Indus sites went through a “mature” phase, best ...
2. The Western Deccan Plateau: Environment and Climate
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Diverse ecological circumstances, combined with the forces of culture and history, have led to tremendous diversity in India’s human populations throughout prehistory (see overviews in Allchin and Allchin 1982; Kennedy 2000; Chakrabarti 2006). India is a broad, triangular peninsula positioned between 8 and 37 degrees north latitude and 68 and 97 degrees east longitude. Except for some narrow mountain passes to the northeast ...
3. Archaeology at Nevasa, Daimabad, and Inamgaon
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Deccan Chalcolithic people built mud and mud-brick houses, made wheel-thrown pottery, used copper implements sparingly, and practiced a mixed economy with agricultural, pastoral, hunting, fishing, and gathering elements. The most recent paleoclimate research demonstrates that a semiarid climate phase commenced around 3000 b.c. in South Asia (see chapter 2). Aridity was well established in central India by the time ...
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Bioarchaeologists use age and sex estimates from skeletons to reconstruct demographic profiles that describe the growth rate of a settlement, the sum of births (fertility), deaths (mortality), immigration, and emigration. These demographic profiles are then used to compare relative levels of fertility and mortality among prehistoric populations and to interpret features of the pathological profiles for skeletal populations. ...
5. Estimating Body Massin the Subadult Skeleton
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Bioarchaeologists primarily focus on understanding the lifestyles of past people using morphological variation, markers of diet, pathology, and growth disruption in human skeletons. In this chapter, I demonstrate a method for estimating body mass from the subadult skeleton using a measure of midshaft cross-section geometry (J) (Robbins, Sciulli, and Blatt 2010). In chapter 6, I will use this technique to estimate body mass ...
6. Reconstructing Health at Nevasa, Daimabad, and Inamgaon
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In this chapter, I examine stature and body mass in the skeletal series from Inamgaon to infer biocultural stress levels through time. In the succeeding chapter, I will integrate insights from the demographic profiles and these skeletal growth profiles to examine how subsistence transition and environmental and culture changes impacted infant and child health toward the end of the Deccan Chalcolithic period. ...
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What does the combined evidence from archaeological, paleoecological, paleoclimate, and biodemographic studies tell us about the human populations and environmental conditions in the Early and Late Jorwe at Chalcolithic Inamgaon? What significant differences occurred about 1000 b.c. that led to abandonment of the majority of most villages in west-central India? How did Inamgaon persist into the Late Jorwe phase when other ...
Appendix A. Burials from Daimabad: Archaeological Context and Grave Goods
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Appendix B. Age Estimates for Subadults in Chalcolithic Samples
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Appendix C. Long Bone Lengths (mm) and Stature (cm) for Individuals with Dental Age Estimates (months)
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Appendix D. Midshaft Femur Cross-Section Measurements for All Individuals with Intact Femur Midshafts
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Appendix E. Stature and Body Mass Estimates for Deccan Chalcolithic Specimens
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About the Author
Gwen Robbins Schug is assistant professor of biological anthropology at Appalachian State University. She is author of several recent publications on skeletal evidence for leprosy in India during the second millennium b.c., human versus nonhuman bone identifications for the Donner party hearth assemblage, and methodological contributions on body mass ...
Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 17 b&w illustrations, 21 tables,
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Bioarchaeological Interpretations of the Human Past
Series Editor Byline: Clark Spencer Larsen