Skeletal and dental indicators (e.g., stature, linear enamel hypoplasia, cribra orbitalia, trauma, dental pathologies, and other evidence of disease) recorded in 45 subadult and 36 adult skeletons from the NHaa 1 site at Ha‘atuatua, Nuku Hiva, northern Marquesas, are used to examine the health, diet, and lifestyle of precontact Marquesans during the Expansion Period (ca. a.d. 1300–1600). Limited comparisons with skeletons from Hane on Ua Huka and other Pacific Island series augment this study. In addition to elevated numbers of subadult deaths, many during the first year of life, significant palaeopathology suggestive of infection, anemia, or metabolic disease was noted for seven subadults. In contrast, very little palaeopathology was noted in the adults and no significant sex differences for most indicators of health. With few exceptions, the skeletal and dental indicators of health in the Ha‘atuatua and Hane series were very similar. Compared to other precontact Pacific series, the Ha‘atuatua males were tall and similar to other East Polynesians. Higher frequencies of stress fracture in the lower back at Ha‘atuatua may be linked to activities associated with landscape changes and the construction of stone megalithic structures. The skeletal and dental indicators of health observed in the Ha‘atuatua burials are most like those reported for other East Polynesian series. The precontact inhabitants of the Marquesas were generally healthy, contrary to expectations of increased disease frequencies and evidence of warfare during the Expansion Period at Ha‘atuatua. These new bioarchaeological data broaden our understanding of the health and lifestyle of precontact Polynesians.


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pp. 244-298
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