By Mark N. Cohen, Gillian M. M. Crane-Kramer
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Extra resources for Ancient Health: Skeletal Indicators of Agricultural and Economic Intensification
Many of Ortner’s examples come from maize-dependent groups, and deficiency diseases are an expected concomitant of dependence on stored staple foods. Third, minor trauma probably accounts for much peri- 16 D. C. Cook osteal new bone formation in ancient remains, since bruising to bone or to overlying tissue results in subperiosteal bleeding and swelling. The word inflammation in medicine refers to swelling, heat, and pain in response to tissue injury. The cause of the injury may be mechanical, thermal, chemical, allergic, or infection.
These studies should be read as suggesting the availability of data and degree of sophistication in each area. In some cases, data were gathered and reported before new techniques were developed and measurements were standardized. Some studies are included very specifically as introductions to pioneering work in little-known regions. The book should be read with the understanding that it was planned as a geographical supplement to existing work. In searching for new work, we solicited papers publicly in several venues in all hemispheres, specifically inviting the work of young scholars and excluding areas described in the Cohen and Armelagos volume, unless work in the particular area had changed substantially.
Wright (1997) found no deterioration of health over time in her Maya sample. Note, however, that most comparisons of hunter-gatherers and farmers use fairly late Mesolithic/Archaic hunter-gatherers. Comparisons between earlier Paleo hunter-gatherers and farmers might reveal health differentials greater than they now appear. -P. Bocquet-Appel; pers. comm. and Bocquet-Appel and Naji 2006). The most telling argument for overall decline in health with the development of farming (reflected in increased mortality) is the mathematics of compound population growth (analogous to compound interest).