A Comparative Bioarchaeology of K’Axob & Cuello: Non-Specific Infection Markers & Social Status Differentiation in the Maya Pre-Classic Period



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This thesis explores whether there is a statistical difference in rates of non-specific infection between two Maya Pre-classic villages, K’axob and Cuello, and whether these findings can be correlated to social status differentiation within and between the two villages. Using representative skeletal samples from these populations, an osteological analysis is performed to determine the presence of non-specific infection markers in the form of periosteal reactions. Combining these health indicators with other socioeconomic factors can be informative about the social status of individuals and allow both a correlation of infection rates among suspected elite versus non-elite individuals, as well as make a socioeconomic versus health status comparison between two villages within the region coexisting within the same period. Results show a high overall inclusion of grave goods in the combined Pre-classic samples, with 80% of individuals having some included grave goods compared to 20% with none included. Non-specific infection markers show a low overall infection rate in the combined Pre-classic samples, with 76.2% having no infection markers present while 23.8% showed indication of periosteal reactions. Of those with infection markers present, 84.4% have included grave goods compared to 15.6% without any included goods. The 20% of the combined Pre-classic sample without grave goods present was not found to overlap in any significant way with the 23.8% of the combined Pre-classic sample with infection markers present. Social status differentiation was not found to impact health status in a discernible way.



Maya, Bioarchaeology, Paleopathology