By Mark N. Cohen, Gillian M. M. Crane-Kramer
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Additional resources for Ancient Health: Skeletal Indicators of Agricultural and Economic Intensification
We can see only a few infectious diseases in bone, and these diseases—apart perhaps from dental caries—are not the ones most relevant to food production. There was once a consensus that tuberculosis was an introduced disease and that Native Americans were uniquely genetically susceptible to TB infection and TB mortality. High TB rates in reservation populations were seen as evidence for a so-called virgin-soil epidemiology, part of a dogma that the New World was once a disease-free eden, isolated from the infected and infectious Old World (see, for example, Hrdlička 1932).
1 for a summary of periods for the sites discussed in this chapter). Cahokia—a site comprising over one hundred mounds, palisades, and many satellite communities—was the largest prehistoric settlement in North America north of Mexico. It is situated at the north end of the American Bottom, a wide floodplain lying east of the Mississippi River and extending one hundred kilometers south from present-day St. Louis, Missouri; it was at its height between 1000 ad and 1250 ad (Milner 1998). Its chronology is complicated by the persistence of Woodland adaptations in Cahokia’s hinterlands.
Our goals are explicitly different from those of Steckel and Rose. We believe that standardization of techniques across workers may be impossible to achieve fully even when guidelines are provided (see, for example, Jacobi and Danforth 2002; Jacobi et al. 2004). We prefer to rely more on the standardization implicit in having the same individual or team doing the scoring within a defined region. Also, we argue that comparisons within one geographical area are more valid than those applied cross-regionally that have problems of greater genetic and environmental differences between populations and greater chance for interobserver error.