UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA Santa Barbara Nomadic Pastoralists and the Chinese Empire:

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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Santa Barbara
Nomadic Pastoralists and the Chinese Empire:
A Bioarchaeological Study of China’s Northern Frontier
A Dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction of the
requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy
in Anthropology
by
Jacqueline Trey Eng
Committee in charge:
Professor Phillip L. Walker, Chair
Professor Katharina Schreiber
Professor Stuart Tyson Smith
September 2007
The dissertation of Jacqueline Trey Eng is approved.
Katharina Schreiber
Stuart Tyson Smith
Phillip L. Walker, Committee Chair
July 2007
Nomadic Pastoralists and the Chinese Empire:
A Bioarchaeological Study of China’s Northern Frontier
Copyright © 2007
by
Jacqueline Trey Eng
iii
Dedication
This dissertation is dedicated to:
my parents, Jackson Eng and Deborah Eng,
and
in loving memory of my grandparents,
Bing Don Eng and Kam Shui (Seto) Eng
Kam Yuk Ho and Chuck Kin (Chan) Ho
iv
Acknowledgements
My love of physical anthropology was nurtured and thrived under the
guidance of my undergraduate adviser, the ever gracious and kind Dr. Henry
McHenry. He started me on the path of human osteology, from the Laetoli
footprints to early Native Californian societies, and he encouraged my research,
which culminated in my first bioarchaeological project. The Anthropology
Department at UC Davis was a second home, and the professors, including Drs.
David Glenn Smith and Peter Rodman, and graduate students were all wonderful.
In graduate school at UC Santa Barbara, I have benefited greatly from the
stimulating research and prolific work of the faculty and fellow graduate students.
Dr. Kathy Schreiber has been a wonderful committee member and instructor who
was always available for consultation, from guidance about archaeological concepts
to advice about professionalism and the job market. Dr. Stuart Smith has also been a
valuable committee member, whose seminar on “Culture Contact” got me interested
in my current project and whose grant writing class helped me secure funding for
research. Dr. Mayfair Yang provided my first contact to China, Weimin Li, and I
am very grateful for her interest and his help in establishing guanxi. I have enjoyed
and benefited from a very rewarding working relationship with my graduate
advisor, Dr. Phillip Walker, who not only offers continually relevant advice on my
research and career, but also provided excellent opportunities to work on forensic
cases and archaeological projects that have vastly improved my research skills.
v
The Walkerlab has been my staunchest support network in graduate school,
with wonderful labmates throughout the years who have not only provided advice,
but also fantastic friendships. I have greatly enjoyed all our conversations, the
culinary experiences, and the collegial atmosphere that was brightened by their
presence. I admire all you ladies, who have set the bar so high for the rest of us.
Gratitude and warm thoughts go to: Corina Kellner, Bonnie Yoshida, Christina
Torres-Rouff, Michele Buzon, Valerie Andrushko, Kaethin Prizer, Rebecca
Richman, Susan Kuzminsky, and Sabrina Sholts. The lab was also livened by
“associated” Walkerlab folk who have been great colleagues, from scholars of
previous years, such as Pat Lambert and Tiffiny Tung, to our phenomenal postdoc
Rhonda Bathhurst. Let’s not forget the male members of the lab: Phil Walker, Ed
Hagen, Kenny Maes, and the spouses of some of our labmates, David Torres-Rouff
and Kory Cooper. Reunions at the AAPA meetings are always fun.
My graduate peers have been the best company one could wish for in terms
of academic support and valued friendships. Thanks go to my grant writing group:
Valerie Andrushko, Alison Borek, Choonghwan Park, and Hugo Santos-Gomez.
Much gratitude also goes to my dissertation writing group, who got me started on
writing those early chapters and were great for moral support along the way:
Valerie, Hillary Haldane, and Mark Schuller. Thanks also to readers of that (close
to) last draft: my Walker labmates, Christina, Michele, Rebecca, Rhonda, and
Valerie, and also Susan McArver. Special thanks to those who graciously lent
technical support: Elizabeth Klarich and Michele Buzon for Access setup pre-
vi
fieldwork, Elsa Ermer for SPSS and stats tips, Nico Tripevich for all-around tech
support, and Rebecca Richman for map help. Friends who have shared in all the ups
and downs that is part and parcel of graduate life and been fantastic cheerleaders
include Sarah Abraham (my hand twin), Kate Ballantyne, Brent Leftwich, Ian and
Talin Lindsay, Susan McArver (thanks for the laughter!), James Tate, Jason
Toohey, and all above-mentioned colleagues.
I am grateful for the early friendship of Germilda “Jimmie” Garbarino who
shared her love of reading with me, and whose travels around the world even in her
80’s inspired me. Jen Chin, Amy Gong, Joanne Kim, Carrie Lee, Michelle Woo,
Miranda Yee, and Chimi Yi have also been fabulous life-long friends who have
joined me in all my adventures in and out of school.
In the course of fieldwork I have made numerous collaborative partnerships
and learned a great deal. In Iceland, I was fortunate to work with Jesse Byock, Jon
Erlandson, Per Holck, Mark Tveskov, and Davide Zori. In Romania, I worked very
well Peter Szoçs. For my dissertation, I have enjoyed collaborations with several
Chinese researchers, including those at the Research Center for Frontier Interaction
at Jilin University: Dr. Zhu Hong and his students Dr. Quanchao Zhang, Linhu
Zhang, and Wei Dong, and was often helped by the foreign students administrator,
He Fenghua. My wonderful friends in China include He Chunxü, Cindy Li, Liu
Mingshi, Peiran Su, Miranda Wong, Constanze Angermann, Fontoh Herbert, Aziz
Klebleyev, and Koontin Yeow. Fellow East Asian researchers Christine Lee and
Kate Pechenkina have also provided great advice and shared experiences.
vii
My dissertation research was funded by the Fulbright-Hays Dissertation
Research Abroad Program (Award #: p022a040064) and the University of
California Pacific Rim Research Grant (reference #: 04TPRRP 08-0011). The
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the UCSB
Chancellor’s Fellowship funded my early graduate expenses, while a predissertation site visit was funded by the UCSB Humanities and Social Sciences
Research Grant. Jenny Bisheff was an able administrator in handling the NSF and
Fulbright-Hays fellowships, and the staff members at ISBER were always quick in
response and advice regarding Pacific Rim funds and other grants.
My family has been so fantastic; I am humbled by how much they have
given me. I have the deepest gratitude to my grandparents, Bing Don and Kam Shui
Eng and Kam Yuk and Chuck Kin Ho, for their love and for instilling in me the
drive to better my life through education and hard work. I thank Betty Ho for
always being excessively diverting and Adam Ng for marvelous technical help.
Thanks go to Donald and Maria Ho and my cousins for continual support. Much
appreciation to Jenny Eng for patient explanations of all things related to graphics
and the web, as well as the care packages that cheered me during tough times. I
thank my brother, David Eng, who has always been a great friend and a sweet,
calming influence. Finally, all my love to my parents, Jackson and Deborah Eng,
whose unwavering belief in me has given me strength and belief in myself. Many
thanks to them, especially for the past few years, with the trip to China, the late
night translations and map searches, and for always being my greatest supporters.
viii
Vita
Jacqueline Trey Eng
July 2007
EDUCATION
2007
Ph.D. in Anthropology (expected) U. of California, Santa Barbara
(UCSB)
2002
M.A. in Anthropology, UCSB
1999
B.S. with High Honors in Anthropology, U. of California, Davis
(UCD)
Minors: Biological Sciences, English
POSITIONS HELD
2005-06
Instructor, Department of Anthropology, UCSB, Summer Session
2003-04
Teaching Assistant, Department of Anthropology, UCSB
2003, 2006 Reader, Department of Anthropology, UCSB
1996-99
Writing Tutor, Learning Skills Center, UCD
PUBLICATIONS
2005
Bioarchaeological Methods. In Handbook of Archaeological Methods,
Vol.II, H.D.G. Maschner and C. Chippindale (eds.). Walnut Creek:
Altamira Press, pp.871-918. (M.R. Buzon, J.T. Eng, P.M. Lambert,
P.L. Walker).
2005
A nagykároly-bobáldi temető és templom 2001. évi régészeti kutatása
[Archaeological investigation of the Carei-Bobald cemetery and
church in 2001]. In "A halál árnyékának völgyében járok." A középkori
templom körüli temetők kutatása ["I Walk through the Valley of the
Shadow of Death." Research of the Medieval Churchyard Cemeteries],
R. Ágnes and S. Erika (eds.). Budapest: Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum
[Hungarian National Museum], pp. 315-324. (P.L. Szöçs, D.M. Dóra,
J. Eng).
2003
A Viking Age farm, church, and cemetery at Hrísbrú, Mosfell Valley,
Iceland. Antiquity. v.77, n.297. P.L. Walker, J. Erlandson, P. Holck,
J.T. Eng, M. Tveskov, M. Sigurgeisson, P. Lambert, M. Moss, K.
Prizer, M. Reid, D. Zori, A. Byock, H. Fyllingen).
CONFERENCE PAPERS
2007
Patterns of trauma in pastoralists of the Donghu culture in northern
China. Symposium: “Bioarchaeological Perspectives of Migration and
Human Health in Ancient East Asia.” Poster presented at the 76th
Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical
ix
2007
2006
2004
2004
2004
2003
2002
Anthropologists, Philadelphia, PA. (J.T. Eng, H. Zhu, Q.C. Zhang).
Abstract in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology,
Supplement 44:105-106.
Long bone dimensions as an index of the socioeconomic change in
ancient Asian populations. Symposium: “Bioarchaeological
Perspectives of Migration and Human Health in Ancient East Asia.”
Poster presented at the 76th Annual Meeting of the American
Association of Physical Anthropologists, Philadelphia, PA. (P.L.
Walker, J.T. Eng). Abstract in the American Journal of Physical
Anthropology, Supplement 44:241.
Health effects of the Han Dynasty collapse on a peripheral population
in Northeast China. Symposium: "Bioarchaeological Insights into
Ancient Imperialism: Perspectives from the Old and New Worlds."
Paper presented at the 71st Annual Meeting of the Society for
American Archaeology, San Juan, Puerto Rico. (J.T. Eng)
Activity patterns of an early Icelandic population. Symposium:
“Viking Archaeology in Iceland: The Mosfell Archaeological Project.”
Paper presented at the 69th Annual Meeting of the Society for
American Archaeology, Montreal, Canada. (J.T. Eng, P. Holck, K.
Prizer, P.L. Walker).
Stature as an indicator of nutritional status in Viking Age Iceland.
Symposium: “Viking Archaeology in Iceland: The Mosfell
Archaeological Project.” Paper presented at the 69th Annual Meeting
of the Society for American Archaeology, Montreal, Canada. (K.
Prizer, J.T. Eng, P. Holck, P.L. Walker).
Bioarchaeological evidence for the health status of an early Icelandic
population. Poster presented at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the
American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Tampa, FL.
Abstract in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology,
Supplement 38:202. (P.L. Walker, J. Byock, J.T. Eng, J.M. Erlandson,
P. Holck, K. Prizer, M.A. Tveskov).
Bioarchaeological analysis of an agricultural population from late
medieval Transylvania. Poster presented at the 72nd Annual Meeting of
the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Tempe, AZ.
Abstract in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology,
Supplement 36:93. (J.T. Eng, P.L. Szoçs).
Resolving cultural affiliation through multiple methods: a case study.
Poster presented at the 71st Annual Meeting of the American
Association of Physical Anthropologists, Buffalo, NY. Abstract in the
American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Supplement 34:67. (J.T.
Eng, P.L. Walker).
x
FELLOWSHIPS AND GRANTS
2006, 2002 Graduate Student Conference Travel Grant, Graduate Division,
UCSB
2004-05
Fulbright-Hays: Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Program
(Co-PI, Award #: p022a040064))
2004-05
Pacific Rim Research Grant, University of California: Dissertation
Research
2003
Humanities and Social Sciences Research Grant, UCSB
2001-06
2000-06
2000
National Science Foundation: Graduate Research Fellowship
Chancellor’s Fellowship, UCSB
James and Aida Siff Educational Foundation Fellowship, UCSB
FIELD RESEARCH
2006
Bioarchaeological Study of Health and Social Change in Ancient
China, (Multiple cites) China (PI: Phillip Walker)
2004-05 Dissertation Fieldwork, Jilin University, China
2003
Pre-dissertation Site Visit, Jilin University, China
2001-03 Mosfell Archaeological Project, Hrísbrú, Iceland
2002
Satu Mare County Museum: Bobald Carei Cemetery, Romania
2002
Dayton Canyon Project, Canoga Park, CA
2000-06 Research Assistant: Forensic cases, UCSB
PEDAGOGICAL TRAINING (UCSB)
2005
Summer Teaching Institute for Associates, Office of Instructional
Consultation
2003-04 Teaching Assistant Practicum, Department of Anthropology
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIP
2000 – present American Association of Physical Anthropologists
2004 – present Society for American Archaeology
2002
Paleopathology Association
FIELDS OF STUDY
Bioarchaeology, Paleopathology, Interregional Interaction, Pastoralism, China,
Inner Asian Frontier, California, Romania, Iceland
xi
Abstract
Nomadic Pastoralists and the Chinese Empire:
A Bioarchaeological Study of China’s Northern Frontier
by
Jacqueline Trey Eng
Frontier interaction between nomadic pastoralists and the agrarian-based
Chinese empire was a complex phenomenon that was shaped by ecological and
cultural constraints. Previous studies and interpretations of this interaction have
focused on the Chinese perspective and relied upon textual data from ancient
Chinese sources, as well as archaeological evidence of material culture. In this
study, the nature and health consequences of the interactions between
agriculturalists and pastoralists were documented using multiple lines of
bioarchaeological evidence to test longstanding assumptions about dietary
dependency and violent conflict between ancient China and nomadic societies of
the northern steppe frontier.
This research has had two major aims: 1) to examine the extent to which
differing economic strategies affected populations in paleopathological markers and
2) to determine the health impact upon peripheral and frontier societies associated
with the level of Chinese imperial influence as measured over different time periods
and geographic distances. I collected bioarchaeological data from the skeletal
remains of 979 people from 11 archaeological sites. These data open a new window
xii
into the health and socioeconomic consequences of long-term core–periphery
interactions. Furthermore, these skeletal studies of stress markers, patterns of
violence, and dietary change document the physical manifestations of frontier
interaction.
This research has shown that the link between diet and violence in the
interaction between nomads and China was dependent on several components,
including distance and temporal considerations. Thus, the relationship between
nomads and China was dynamic and fluid, influenced by a complex array of
ecological, social, and historical factors.
xiii
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements _________________________________________________ v
Vita______________________________________________________________ix
Abstract _________________________________________________________ xii
Table of Contents _________________________________________________xiv
List of Tables_____________________________________________________xix
List of Figures ___________________________________________________ xxii
Chapter 1: Introduction_____________________________________________ 1
Bioarchaeological Approach __________________________________________ 3
The Present Research ________________________________________________ 4
Structure of Dissertation______________________________________________ 5
Chapter 2: Culture History and Ecological Context______________________ 7
Introduction _______________________________________________________ 7
Brief Chronology ___________________________________________________ 8
Geography and Ecological Context ____________________________________
Northern China________________________________________________
Manchuria ___________________________________________________
Mongolia_____________________________________________________
Xinjiang _____________________________________________________
16
19
20
22
23
History of Research ________________________________________________ 24
Research in Sociopolitical Organization and Interregional Interaction _________ 29
Conclusion _______________________________________________________ 31
xiv
Chapter 3: Theories and Research Models of Chinese–Frontier Interaction_ 32
Introduction ______________________________________________________ 32
Traditional Chinese View of Foreign Relations___________________________ 33
Culture Contact____________________________________________________ 39
Frontiers _________________________________________________________ 42
Inner Asian Frontier: The “Needy” Model __________________________ 44
“Shadow Empires”: Model of Nomadic State Formation _______________ 46
Bioarchaeological Implications _______________________________________ 51
Conclusion _______________________________________________________ 53
Chapter 4: Bioarchaeological Models and Research Hypotheses __________ 55
Bioarchaeological Approach _________________________________________ 56
Impact of Stress on Human Health_____________________________________ 57
Bioarchaeological Correlates: Shifts in Subsistence and Social Organization ___ 62
Agriculturalism________________________________________________ 62
Nomadic Pastoralism ___________________________________________ 64
Agricultural and Nomadic Pastoral Subsistence in China and the Frontier ______ 67
Agriculture: Millet Diet _________________________________________ 67
Pastoral Nomadism: Animal Products______________________________ 68
Bioarchaeological Correlations and Implications _________________________
Dietary Reconstruction__________________________________________
Health Status _________________________________________________
Activity Patterns and Interpersonal Violence_________________________
71
71
74
77
Hypotheses and Expectations _________________________________________
Regional Differences ___________________________________________
Subsistence Mode ______________________________________________
Level of Imperial Influence: Time Period and Geographic Distance ______
79
80
81
83
Conclusion _______________________________________________________ 87
Chapter 5: Materials ______________________________________________ 88
Sampling Issues ___________________________________________________ 90
xv
Storage ______________________________________________________ 90
Burial Treatment ______________________________________________ 91
Sampling Problems_____________________________________________ 92
Previous Research on Affiliation ______________________________________ 93
Nomadic Pastoral Samples ___________________________________________ 94
Bronze Age Sites: ED, HTB, LJ ___________________________________ 96
Iron Age Sites: BYJH, YNQ, SAY __________________________________ 99
Agropastoral Sample ______________________________________________ 101
Agricultural Samples ______________________________________________ 103
Neolithic Site: QM ____________________________________________ 103
Middle Imperial Period Sites: SJC, BWS, DZX ______________________ 104
Conclusion ______________________________________________________ 107
Chapter 6: Methods ______________________________________________ 108
The Bioarchaeological Approach _____________________________________ 108
Working Conditions _______________________________________________ 109
Minimum Number of Individuals_____________________________________ 112
Age Determination ________________________________________________ 113
Sex Determination ________________________________________________ 116
Health Data______________________________________________________
Dental Health ________________________________________________
Nutritional Status and Stress ____________________________________
Activity Patterns and Trauma____________________________________
116
117
117
119
Statistical Analysis ________________________________________________ 121
Conclusion ______________________________________________________ 122
Chapter 7: Demographic Profile and Within-Group Comparisons _______ 123
Demographic Profiles______________________________________________ 123
Age Distribution ______________________________________________ 125
Sex Distribution ______________________________________________ 128
xvi
Pooling Samples __________________________________________________
Nomadic Pastoral Samples______________________________________
Agropastoral Sample __________________________________________
Agricultural Samples __________________________________________
129
130
131
131
Intra-group Comparisons ___________________________________________
Regional Populations __________________________________________
Subsistence: By Time Period ____________________________________
Subsistence: By Age and Sex ____________________________________
132
133
135
137
Discussion and Conclusion__________________________________________ 144
Chapter 8: Inter-Group Comparisons of Regional Variation, Subsistence
Mode, and Level of Imperial Influence ______________________________ 148
Regional Comparisons _____________________________________________ 148
Subsistence Mode_________________________________________________
Juveniles ____________________________________________________
Adult Males__________________________________________________
Adult Females________________________________________________
Total Adult Population _________________________________________
Age Correlations _____________________________________________
152
155
156
157
159
161
Level of Imperial Influence _________________________________________
Pre-imperial vs. Early Imperial __________________________________
Pre-imperial vs. Middle Imperial _________________________________
Early Imperial vs. Middle Imperial _______________________________
170
172
173
174
Inner Zone vs. Outer Zone __________________________________________ 175
Pre-imperial Inner Zone vs. Outer Zone ___________________________ 178
Early Imperial Inner Zone vs. Outer Zone __________________________ 179
Conclusion ______________________________________________________ 181
Chapter 9: Discussion_____________________________________________ 182
Regional Variations? ______________________________________________ 182
Nomadic Pastoral and Agricultural Comparisons ________________________
Diet ________________________________________________________
Health and Nutrition___________________________________________
Activity Patterns and Degenerative Joint Disease ____________________
Trauma and Interpersonal Violence_______________________________
xvii
186
187
189
194
196
Level of Imperial Influence _________________________________________ 200
Imperial Periods______________________________________________ 201
Inner Zone vs. Outer Zone ______________________________________ 209
Conclusion ______________________________________________________ 215
Chapter 10: Conclusions __________________________________________ 217
Bioarchaeological Hypotheses _______________________________________
Regional Variation ____________________________________________
Subsistence Mode _____________________________________________
Levels of Imperial Influence _____________________________________
218
218
219
221
Implications for Research of Frontier Interaction ________________________ 222
Future Research __________________________________________________ 224
Appendix: Tables and Figures _____________________________________ 226
References Cited _________________________________________________ 247
xviii
List of Tables
Table 2.1. Chronology of China and peoples of the Northern Zone
10
Table 5.1. Total sample used in study, categorized by economic, with sites
presented in chronological order according to economic grouping
Table 5.2. Samples sorted by consideration of research questions
89
90
Table 6.1. Age categories used in this study
113
Table 7.1. Sites organized by economic mode and time period
124
Table 7.2. Age distribution of individuals by site
126
Table 7.3. Mean long bone lengths by region and time period
133
Table 7.4. Mean long bone lengths by economic mode and time period
136
Table 7.5. Frequencies of pathological conditions in economic groups by age
category
138
Table 7.6. Frequencies of pathological conditions in economic groups by sex
139
Table 8.1. Frequencies of pathological conditions among regional groups
149
Table 8.2. Mean long bone lengths by region
151
Table 8.3. Significance of differences in long bone lengths by region
151
Table 8.4. Frequencies of pathological conditions by economic mode
154
Table 8.5. Mean long bone lengths by economic mode
157
Table 8.6. Inter-economy comparison of male long bong lengths
157
Table 8.7. Inter-economy comparison of female long bong lengths
158
Table 8.8. Adult frequencies of pathological conditions by economic mode
159
Table 8.9. Sexual dimorphism in long bone lengths by economic groups
161
xix
Table 8.10. Distribution of affected cases in age cohorts by economic mode
163
Table 8.11. Pathological conditions among economic groups within each
age cohort
165-166
Table 8.12. Frequencies of health variables by level of imperial influence
by time
171
Table 8.13. Mean long bone lengths by period of imperial influence
172
Table 8.14. Cranial trauma in the Pre-imperial Jinggouzi female sample
173
Table 8.15. Frequencies of health variables by imperial influence and zone
177
Table 8.16. Mean long bone lengths by proximity to imperial influence
178
Table A7.1. Age and sex distribution of samples
226
Table A7.2. Statistical comparison of long bone measures in the regions by
time period
227
Table A7.3. Statistical comparison of long bone measures in each economic
mode by time period
228
Table A7.4. Statistical comparison of pathological conditions within
economic modes by age and sex
229-230
Table A8.1. Statistical comparison of pathological conditions among
pooled regional groups
231
Table A8.2. Statistical comparison of pathological conditions by economic
mode
232-233
Table A8.3. Statistical comparison of age cohorts across economic groups 234-235
Table A8.4. Pattern and distribution of fractures by economic mode
xx
236-237
Table A8.5. Statistical comparison of levels of imperial influence by time 238-239
Table A8.6. Statistical comparison of means of long bone lengths from
different periods of imperial influence
Table A8.7 Statistical comparison by proximity to imperial influence
240
241–242
Table A8.8. Statistical comparison of long bone lengths according to
proximity to imperial influence
243
xxi
List of Figures
Figure 2.1. Map of area of study in China’s northern frontier zone
19
Figure 5.1. Map of sites in study
89
Figure 5.2. Map of sites in Xinjiang province
95
Figure 5.3. Map of sites in Inner Mongolia and Manchuria
95
Figure 7.1. Sample sizes of each site
125
Figure 7.2. Distribution of sexes by site
129
Figure 7.3. Age and sex distribution of samples pooled by subsistence mode
130
Figure 8.1. Cranial trauma in Pre-imperial Inner zone females
179
Figure A5.1. Weapons found with burial assemblages
244
Figure A8.1. Peri-mortem cranial trauma
245
Figure A9.1. Two male victims of interpersonal violence
246
xxii
Chapter 1: Introduction
The word “frontier” evokes exotic images of an untamed land at the edge of
civilization, a fluid landscape between governed realms and independent terrain.
Frontiers do not exist in a vacuum; this zone develops along side an emerging
“core” and its perceived borders relative to outside societies (Rodseth and Parker
2005). Thus frontiers provide a rich setting for research in culture contact situations,
as they are the dynamic stage upon which differing societies meet and continuously
negotiate their interactions. In this dissertation, I explore the nature and forms of
frontier interaction between ancient China and the nomads of the northern steppe
through the examination of paleopathological and dietary data from archaeological
collections of human skeletal remains.
The northern frontier has long been an interaction zone between politically
and economically opposing cultures: nomadic pastoralists of the north and the
sedentary Chinese agriculturalists to the south. In ecological terms, the Central
Plains of China is more suitable for cultivation of crops such as millet and wheat
than the vast grasslands for pasture in the steppes. These environmental conditions
in turn helped to structure different cultural developments in these regions in terms
of subsistence strategies and social organization. The Great Wall and other such
fortifications geographically demarcated this ecological and cultural boundary, and
were erected by the Chinese to limit and control their interactions with the nomads,
as well as for defensive purposes against them (Yang 1968).
1
Despite the evident symbolism of the Great Wall as a physical and cultural
divide between two apparently antagonistic peoples, the relationship between
sedentary Chinese and nomadic pastoralists was by no means rigid, nor was there a
strict dichotomy between them. The walls and fortifications along the frontier were
not impermeable barricades. Instead, they functioned like screens that allowed for
economic and cultural exchanges (Williams 2002:62).
The study of frontier socioeconomic interactions has benefited from the
documentation left by ancient and medieval Chinese historians. These records are
core-centric, however, and this focus on both textual evidence and the Chinese
perspective it promulgates has influenced theories on past interaction. The
traditional model of Chinese–nomadic interaction assumes that nomadic pastoral
populations relied heavily upon the goods of the sedentary China, especially their
agricultural products and textiles. These goods are assumed to have not only
supplemented the deficiencies of a pastoral diet (Khazanov 1984), but also
underwritten the political power of nomadic leaders (Barfield 2001). This
dependency is believed to have driven the pastoralists to assert a “trade or raid”
strategy to obtain/extort China for access to these goods (Jagchid and Symons
1989).
My research provides insights into a seldom addressed dimension of the
core–periphery interaction: how areas adjacent to, but not incorporated into, the
empire negotiated this frontier relationship. I explore the biological implications of
2
such processes through the comparative analysis of health data obtained from
human skeletal remains of the ancient people who occupied the Chinese frontier.
Bioarchaeological Approach
The goal of this study is to determine the nature of the relationships between
the Chinese empire and frontier groups as well as to document the role this
interaction played in the health of pastoral societies. I do this through a
bioarchaeological analysis of archaeological skeletal collections from sites in the
northern frontier and in the adjacent Chinese peripheral area. These data open a new
window into the health and socioeconomic consequences of long-term core–
periphery interactions. I also explore the health consequences related to the
agricultural and pastoral modes of economy and examine how the health of people
from different social groups within these societies was affected by their interactions
with the Chinese empire.
The bioarchaeological approach, which uses integrative and
multidisciplinary methods and theories to examine biocultural data, is a useful
means to address these multifaceted questions (Buzon et al. 2005).
Bioarchaeological data provide a direct measure of relevant variables that are used
in this study to independently test research questions about the nature and mode of
interaction. If interactions between nomads and China were predicated on the
pastoral “need” for agricultural goods, there should be corresponding changes in
diet and possibly level of violence to gain these goods. Dietary data provided by
3
skeletal studies are used to measure changes in the flow of agricultural produce into
these pastoral societies. Skeletal data are also used to identify changes in levels of
interpersonal violence and to assess the health consequences of increases in
sedentism and dependence on agricultural goods. These skeletal studies of stress
markers, patterns of violence, and dietary change document the physical
manifestations of frontier interaction, whether via violent conflict or the more
peaceful means of tribute and trade.
The Present Research
In this dissertation, the health consequences of interaction between the
peoples of the Chinese empire and the northern frontier are examined through the
study of human skeletal remains. This study includes observation of 979 individuals
from 11 archaeological sites that date from the Neolithic to the 14th century AD.
The samples are derived from three regions along the northern frontier: Manchuria
(which comprises the modern provinces of Jilin, Liaoning, and Heilongjiang) to
China’s northeast, Mongolia (including the modern Chinese province of Inner
Mongolia) to the north-central, and Xinjiang province to the northwest. The broad
temporal and spatial dimensions encompassed by these samples provide a basis for
exploring the changing relationships between nomads and China over different
periods of imperial control and China’s influence over nomads based on their
distance from the core.
4
I argue that the relationship between nomadic pastoralists and China was a
dynamic one that was influenced not only by differences that arose from their
subsistence strategies and subsequent social organizations, but also by the political
and distance constraints. That is, the interaction was mediated by how much control
China had over their borders (which in turn was related to its infrastructure and
available resources), as well as by the relative proximity between frontier groups
and the Chinese core. Those groups near the core may have had more access to
Chinese goods, either through raiding activity, or through trade, or their
incorporation into China and subsequent shift in lifestyle under imperial rule.
Structure of Dissertation
I begin this dissertation with an overview of the cultural, geographical, and
ecological context of the study area, as well as a review of the research on the
relationship between China and the frontier. Chapter 3 describes the ancient
Chinese worldview, which structured interactions between China and foreigners and
influenced modern models of that interaction. This chapter also reviews
anthropological literature on culture contact and frontier studies, and discusses the
applicability of the bioarchaeological approach to address research questions in this
study.
Chapter 4 continues this discussion of bioarchaeological models and
presents the hypotheses and expectations that are explored in this study. In Chapter
5, I provide information about the samples, including the archaeological context and
5
consideration of the key variables under consideration: subsistence mode, time
period, and regional location. The methods used to collect and analyze data are
presented in Chapter 6.
I divided the data analysis into two stages and the results are described in
two separate chapters. Chapter 7 presents the results of the determination of
population structure and pooling samples, as well as the results and interpretations
from comparisons between groups that have been pooled together according to
region and subsistence mode. These intra-group comparisons assessed the relative
homogeneity of sites that had been pooled despite differences in the time period
from which they had derived and evaluated their suitability as pooled samples to be
tested in the following stage of analysis. This second stage of analysis is found in
Chapter 8, which presents the results of comparisons between the subsistence
strategies and comparisons of groups differing in level of imperial influence by time
period and geographic distance from the core. Chapter 9 presents a discussion of
these results and their implications, followed by suggestions for future directions for
research in Chapter 10.
This research provides new insights into the biological consequences of the
interactions that influenced the sociopolitical and economic changes that
transformed these ancient societies. The results of this study also offer new
information on the living conditions of nomadic pastoral groups from a varied
context.
6
Chapter 2: Culture History and Ecological Context
Introduction
The goal of this study is to explore the dynamic relationships between
nomadic pastoral tribal societies and the emerging Chinese empire, as well as to
assess the health and dietary changes related to their interactions. Bioarchaeological
analysis of skeletal collections from archaeological sites in the northern frontier
provides data to explore this issue. These data on the lives of people living at the
periphery of the Chinese polity offer a new perspective on the health consequences
of long-term core–periphery interactions.
When anthropologists and historians consider cultural change in peripheral
populations such as those in this study, the focus is usually on how the marginal
group was affected by their interactions with the central polity, not on how the
outsiders may have induced structural changes in the more powerful dominant
society (Nelson 1995; von Falkenhausen 1995). My research offers insights into
another dimension of the core–periphery interaction: how areas adjacent to, but not
incorporated into, the empire negotiated this frontier relationship. In my research
the biological implications of such processes are explored through the analysis of
health data obtained from human skeletal remains. This study is designed to use
bioarchaeological data to test current theories of core–periphery interaction in
7
China’s northern zone that have been formulated from analysis of historical Chinese
records.
The study of these frontier socioeconomic interactions is immensely
enriched by the documentation left by ancient and medieval Chinese historians and
officials. These detailed imperial records, which are available as early as the Han
Dynasty (207 BC – AD 220), often focused on the “nomad problem” various courts
faced. This historical material has been the basis of several investigations into Han
frontier relations (e.g., Loewe 1967; Yü 1967), as well as for studies of later
dynasties such as the Tang in the 7th to 10th centuries AD (e.g., Mackerras 1972).
These accounts, though core-centric, provide much information regarding court
policies, military forays, treaties with the nomads, and details about the flow of
goods and other economic relations. The pattern of imperial–frontier relations
shows that the Chinese policy towards the nomads was usually one of appeasement.
The government signed expensive peace treaties that supplied agricultural products
and luxury items to emerging leaders of powerful nomadic tribes (Barfield 2001).
The skeletal analysis used in this study adds a biological perspective to studies of
these core–periphery interactions and allows testing of the validity of models and
inferences based upon historical accounts.
Brief Chronology
Analysis of interregional interaction between China and the northern frontier
requires consideration of vast geographical expanses and long periods of time.
8
Presented here is a review of the histories of China and the ancient frontier regions
of Manchuria (northeast provinces of China), Mongolia (includes the modern
Chinese province of Inner Mongolia), and Xinjiang (northwest Chinese province).
This historical survey is necessarily very broad, and does not delve into the
minutiae of the culture history of each particular region from which samples are
derived. Further, the following chronology encompasses only the periods and events
relevant to the particular samples of this study. These periods range from the
Neolithic shift to agriculture and the Bronze Age emergence of nomadic
pastoralism, to China’s imperial Yuan Dynasty of the 13th – 14th century AD. As
most documentary sources come from ancient Chinese accounts, the history of the
“Northern Zone” (the culture area of the northern frontier, e.g., Pak 1999) is
situated in reference to Chinese dates and dynastic periods, with particular attention
given to those nomadic polities that established kingdoms within China (Table 2.1).
9
Table 2.1. Chronology of China and peoples of the Northern Zone (adapted from
Kessler 1993:14). Foreign rule of north China (or entire empire) in italics.
Time Frame
~8th to 3rd
millennium BC
3rd to 2nd
millennium BC
11th to 2nd
centuries BC
2nd century BC
to 2nd century
AD
2nd to 6th
centuries
6th to 9th
centuries
9th to 13th
centuries
13th to 14th
centuries
14th century to
1911
China
Northern Zone Peoples
Neolithic, pre-dynastic cultures,
e.g., Peiligang, Yangshao,
Dawenkou, Longshan
Xia (Erlitou? ca.2050-1650 BC)
Shang (ca.1650-1100 BC)
Zhou (ca.1100-256 BC)
Spring and Autumn (722-481 BC)
Warring States (403-221 BC)
Qin (221-207 BC)
Han (206BC-220 AD)
Western Han (206 BC-8 AD)
Xin (8-23 AD)
Eastern Han (25-220 AD)
Three Kingdoms (220-280 AD)
Western Jin (265-316 AD)
Eastern Jin (317-420 AD)
Sixteen Kingdoms (301-439 AD)
Southern Dynasties (317-589 AD)
Northern Dynasties
Northern Wei (386-534 AD)
Eastern Wei (534-550 AD)
Western Wei (535-556 AD)
Northern Qi (550-577 AD)
Northern Zhou (557-581 AD)
Sui (581-617 AD)
Tang (618-907 AD)
Five Kingdoms (907-960 AD)
Liao (907-1125 AD)
Northern Song (960-1127 AD)
Southern Song (1127-1279 AD)
Jin (1115-1234 AD)
Yuan (1279-1368 AD)
Ming (1368-1644 AD)
Qing (1644-1911 AD)
Xinglongwa, Zhaobaogou,
Hongshan, Laohushan,
Xiajiadian
Xunyu, Guifang
Rong, Di, Linhu, Loufan,
Eastern Hu, Xiongnu
Xiongnu, Wusun, Yuezhi,
Wuhuan, Xianbei
Wuhu ("5 nomadic
peoples"): Xiongnu, Xianbei
(founded Northern Wei ),
Qiang, Di, Jie; Rouran, Zhi,
Wuhuan
Tujic (Turk), Huigu
(Uighur), Tuyuhun, Mohe,
Xi
Qidan (Khitan, founded
Liao Dynasty ), Nuzhen
(Jurchen, founded Jin
Dynasty ), Dangxiang
(Tangut: founded Xixia
Mongols (founded Yuan
Dynasty )
Mongols, Tartars, Manchus
(founded Qing Dynasty )
Neolithic cultures in China are characterized by farming as the main
subsistence strategy, reliance on pottery for food preparation and consumption, and
ground stone tools (Underhill and Habu 2006). Archaeological evidence suggests
10
that by at least 9000 BP early societies in northeast China began plant
domestication, pottery production, and sedentary lifestyles. Evidence of
domestication include millet (Crawford 2006), along with domestication dogs and
of pigs by 8000 BP (Chang 1986; Yan 1992; Yuan and Flad 2002).
Substantial intensification of agriculture, concomitant with aggregated
living, craft specialization, and social stratification by the third millennium BC
marked the beginnings of increasingly complex societies such as Yangshao,
Dawenkou, and the stratified, chiefdom-level Longshan culture in the plains of
north China (Liu 1996a). The transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age
occurred in the early part of the second millennium BC, which coincides with the
development of the oldest documented state-level Chinese societies (Liu and Chen
2006). These ancient “Three Dynasties,” Xia, Shang, and Zhou, collectively lasted
from approximately 2000 – 256 BC, and centered within the Yellow River valley.
While the existence of the Xia Dynasty was considered mythical in modern
studies until relatively recently 1 , much more is known about the Shang (ca. 17th –
12th century BC) through large scale excavations of Shang centers such as Anyang
and from their inscriptions on oracle bones (Chang 1986). Shang society was highly
stratified and the role of kings were to lead ancestor worship with ritualized use of
bronze ware (Keightley 1999). The succeeding kings of the Zhou Dynasty (ca. 12th
century – 256 BC) legitimized their rule by claiming it was sanctioned by divine
1
Archaeological evidence suggests that the Erlitou culture is that of the Xia. The type site in Yanshi,
Henan province dates to ca. 2100 to 1800 BC, which coincides in time and space with descriptions
of the Xia dynasty in Chinese historiography (Chang 1999:72-73).
11
right (the Mandate of Heaven), and kings relied on a hereditary system of
segmentary lineage, sending out relatives to govern districts (Feng 2005). The Zhou
Dynasty was a time of great change in pre-imperial China. During this period the
nature of warfare changed to conquest as the Zhou state expanded (Underhill 2006).
The fall of the Western Zhou Dynasty in 770 BC initiated a period of
continual civil wars during the succeeding Eastern Zhou, which is divided into the
Spring and Autumn (722 – 481 BC) and Warring States (481 – 221 BC) periods.
While the ruler of Eastern Zhou was titular head of state, rival hegemonic states
vied for control. Many philosophical schools of thought on statecraft emerged
during the Warring States period (Gernet 1998). The two most prominent from the
so-called “Hundred Schools of Thought” were Confucianism and the Legalist
philosophy, both of which profoundly influenced imperial rule for centuries. This
influence extended to Chinese policies regarding interaction with foreigners, which
continuously fluctuated between pacifist (Confucian) and aggressive (Legalist)
stances as nomadic pastoral societies developed in the north.
While the art of Chinese state rule was developing around the fertile Yellow
River valley, northward in the Eurasian steppe, pastoral nomadic societies were
emerging. Archaeological evidence suggests that horse riding cultures first arose in
western Asia in the first millennium BC and spread eastward to the Mongolian
steppe by the fourth century BC (Tao 2002; Volkov 1995). At this time, tensions
between agrarian Chinese states and nomads occupying the neighboring northern
12
steppe became increasingly evident as Chinese states along the north erected
defensive long walls that eventually would form the Great Wall.
The imperial age began when the warring kingdoms of China were unified
into an empire under the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BC), Qin Shi
Huangdi. His method of centralizing government over disparate peoples included
standardizing the writing system, measuring system, and currency (Morton 1995).
Having subdued the local populace, the emperor then turned his military attention to
the north. He connected the older defensive walls to construct the Great Wall along
the Inner Asian frontier, which firmly demarcated the boundary between China and
the neighboring pastoral nomads. Within 15 years of its establishment, the Qin
Dynasty collapsed as the populace rebelled against the harsh Legalist 2 measures of
the totalitarian Qin rulers. Qin was followed by the more stable Han Dynasty (206
BC – AD 220).
Contemporaneous with the Han Dynasty and a constant threat on their
northern borders were the Xiongnu nomadic tribes of the Ordos steppe region of
Mongolia, first mentioned in Qin chronicles. As documented in Han records, 3 the
Xiongnu were a constant problem to the Han court, with raids breaching the Great
Wall defenses, and frequent demands for tribute for appeasement. The Xiongnu
nomadic federation formed a “shadow empire” (209 BC – AD 155) (Barfield 2001),
2
Legalism was the political philosophy that emphasized the rule of law, and was central to Qin
governance. After Qin’s fall, Legalism was discredited and Confucianism, with its emphasis on
loyalty to the emperor and morality gained prominence, although modern scholars believe some
Legalist ideas merged with Confucianism (Graham 1989).
3
The Han Dynasty Grand Historian Sima Qian’s Shi Ji devotes a whole chapter to the Xiongnu of
the Mongolian steppe.
13
the first of several Inner Asian nomadic federations whose sociopolitical unity rose
and fell in tandem with China’s cycle of dynastic emergence and collapse (see
Table 1.1 in Barfield 1989:13).
Nearly 400 years of division and political instability followed the collapse of
the Han Dynasty, which marks China’s “medieval” period, with successive states
known as the Three Kingdoms (AD 221 – 265) and Northern and Southern
Dynasties (AD 265 – 581). While the Chinese court fled southward to establish a
series of southern dynasties in the Yangtze River valley, numerous short-lived nonChinese dynasties of nomadic “barbarian” ethnicities ruled parts or all of northern
China during the 130 year period (AD 304 – 439) known as the “Sixteen Kingdoms
of the Five Barbarian Peoples” (Gernet 1998). The strongest states of the Sixteen
Kingdoms were founded by several subclans of the Xianbei tribe occupying
Manchuria. These included the Murong clan, which established three Yan dynasties
(AD 337 – 439), while the Tuoba clan founded the Northern Wei Dynasty (AD 386
– 534), which managed to unite all of northern China for over a century.
While the great houses of elite Han Chinese 4 that remained in the north
often collaborated and intermarried with the steppe rulers (Barfield 1989), the
peasant population suffered heavily during the chaotic years of the Sixteen
Kingdoms. They had to endure constant military campaigns, payment of taxes, and
conscription as corvée labor. Short-sighted measures to alleviate the government’s
4
“Han Chinese” refers to the majority ethnic group in China and differentiates this group from the
more general term “Chinese,” which currently encompasses 55 other recognized ethnic groups
within China. The name derives from the long-lasting Han Dynasty.
14
economical and fiscal needs included re-settlement of peasants around the capital
(Gernet 1998:191). By and large the more successful of the formerly nomadic and
semi-nomadic courts elected to adopt Chinese customs and political institutions
(“sinicize”).
All aspiring foreign rulers in China faced the problem of effective rule over
heterogeneous groups. They were unacceptable to their Chinese subjects unless they
adopted Chinese customs, but if they wholly sinicized, these rulers lost support
within their ethnic nomadic tribes. Sinicization meant not only adopting Chinese
legal concepts and institutions for legitimacy to rule, fundamentally it also meant
adopting a sedentary lifestyle (Barfield 1991:42). Thus, foreign invaders often had
difficulty establishing control of any permanence without partial, if not complete
sinicization. For example, by the end of the 5th century AD, the Tuoba court forbade
the use of Tuoba language, dress, and surnames (Gernet 1998:193). Despite
attempts at sinicization, these non-Han Chinese courts were always regarded as
“foreign,” and invariably disintegrated from mismanagement of the large agrarian
populace or other internal/external pressures such as uprisings or military threats
(Honey 1992).
China was not fully “re-unified” by native Chinese rulers until the shortlived Sui Dynasty (AD 581 – 618), followed by the Tang Dynasty (AD 618 – 908),
which in turn had its own shadow empire of the Uighurs (AD 744 – 840) in the
northwest area of modern Xinjiang province (Mackerras 1972). After a time of
cultural florescence during the Tang, China once again fell to political collapse with
15
sporadic resurgences of unity under various Chinese courts, or rule by Manchurians
encroaching from the northeast. In the 13th century, Mongolians under Ghengis
Khan forged a vast empire that stretched from Southeast Asia to Central Europe. In
China the khan of the Mongols went under the ruling dynastic name of Yuan (AD
1279 – 1367), and they too tried to co-opt existing Chinese customs and ideology
for effective rule (Fairbank et al. 1989). The most recent samples in the present
study date to this Yuan period, considered here as a “Middle Imperial” stage.
Geography and Ecological Context
In this study, the northern frontier stretches from northeastern China to the
northwestern province of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. This area
roughly corresponds with the Asian part of the vast Eurasian Steppe, which is also
known as “Inner Asia.” The Inner Asian frontier has been defined as a zone of
interaction between politically and economically opposing cultures: nomadic
pastoralists and sedentary Chinese agriculturalists.
In ecological terms, the Central Plains of China, centered within the Yellow
River valley, was much more suitable for cultivation of staples such as millet and
wheat than the northern steppes, where the temperate grasslands were better suited
to seasonal migrations of herd animals. The Great Wall geographically reinforced
this ecological boundary, and was erected by the Chinese to limit and control their
interactions with the nomads (Yang 1968). As a result of this cultural and ecological
divide, cultural developments in these regions followed different trajectories in
16
terms of subsistence strategies, social organization, and adaptations to the
environment as early as the Bronze Age Shang Dynasty (Watson 1971).
In ancient China, the fundamental difference between civilized people and
barbarians was seen as the practice of agriculture, the importance of which was so
highly emphasized in the government that rites and ceremonies revolved around
farming (Meserve 1982). Even in modern times, nomadic pastoralism has been seen
as “uncivilized” and a simple form of organization compared to the complexity in
social structure enabled by agriculture (Shelach 1999:14-15). However, this
subsistence strategy is an effective way to exploit marginal environments by aiding
the conversion of low quality plant resources into portable high quality goods
(Crawford and Leonard 2002). Moreover, pastoralism often has complementary
production cycles with farmers, which makes efficient use of large parts of lands
that are otherwise unsuitable for agriculture (Barfield 1993). Climatic changes to
colder and drier conditions during the early first half of the millennium BC may
have made nomadic pastoralism more economically feasible in the steppe region of
the northeast (Linduff et al. 2002; Shelach 1994). Thus the nomadic pastoral pattern
in the northern steppe may be seen as a successful adaptive strategy to deteriorating
environmental conditions (Barfield 1993).
Pastoral nomadism refers to an economic specialization whereby mobile
groups migrate with their animals to exploit the extensive, but seasonal grasslands
of the steppes and mountains in an annual cycle (Barfield 1989:20). The Eurasian
17
steppe complex 5 emphasizes horses, sheep, goats, cattle, and Bactrian (twohumped) camels (Barfield 1993). The most economically important livestock of
Inner Asian pastoral subsistence was sheep, which provided a variety of products
including milk and meat for food, wool and hides for clothes and shelter (yurts), and
dung for fuel (ibid.). Inner Asian societies also had a close association with horses,
which provided another source of meat and milk (and blood). More importantly,
horses aided in mobility and transportation of portable goods, as well as in military
strikes (Barfield 1989:21), such as during raids against sedentary China.
To understand how the neighboring cultures of China and the northern
frontier developed with such striking differences in political, economic, and social
organization, it is necessary to survey the ecological context in which these cultures
emerged. Differences in ecological conditions help explain how the environment
influenced the trajectories of their development.
The Eurasian steppe extends from the Hungarian plains to northern Asia,
and though bordered by different terrains, is essentially a semi-arid grassland. The
Asian portion of the steppe covers approximately 2.6 million square kilometers. The
geographic range encompassed within the term “Inner Asia,” popularized by
Lattimore (1940), has been described in various ways including the “Northern
Zone” (see Di Cosmo 2002:13-15). Definitions are made difficult by the fact that
the northern frontier was fluid. However, the northern zone of interaction between
China and Inner Asia can be divided into four recognizable ecological and cultural
5
“Complex” as used by Barfield (1993) refers to the key animals in a pastoral economy.
18
areas (Barfield 1989:16), which for purposes here include north China, Manchuria
to the east, Mongolia (and Inner Mongolia) in the center, and Xinjiang to the west
(Figure 2.1). While China and Mongolia, demarcated by the Great Wall, are fairly
easy to define in opposing ecological terms, Manchuria and Xinjiang supported
mixed economies. The four major regions of interaction and its peoples are briefly
discussed here.
Figure 2.1. Map of area of study in China’s northern frontier zone. Note that
Manchuria encompasses three modern provinces.
Northern China
The geographic range of Chinese borders was constantly in flux as imperial
control expanded or contracted and fragmented following internal collapse. Since
the fourth millennium BC, however, China has maintained a sense of unity, with the
civilization centered around the Yellow River region (Chang 1999; Yates 2001).
China’s ancient heartland can be divided into four distinct regions. The flat,
low-level Yellow River valley (also known as the Central Plains) lay to the east,
and its depositional properties supported intensive irrigated agriculture and fostered
19
some of the earliest agricultural cultures in China, as well as many ancient capital
cities, including Luoyang, Kaifeng, and Beijing. This was an arid land of wheat and
millet, with alternating cold winters and hot summers. To the north of the Central
Plains, China is separated from Mongolia by the hills and mountains of Jehol, while
in the northeast a narrow pass connects China to the Manchurian plain of the lower
Liao River Valley. To the west are the loess highlands, home to the capital city of
Chang’an (modern Xi’an) during the Han and Tang dynasties. The Ordos steppe
and desert, north of these loess highlands, was occupied by nomads and was thus a
contentious region. Finally, southern China begins around the drainage of the lower
Yangtze River. While the temperate environment of the northern Central Plains was
suited for millet and wheat agriculture, southern China was a region of lakes and
rivers, with a warm humid climate that supported wet rice agriculture (Fairbank et
al. 1989), and was inhospitable to mounted cavalry (Barfield 1989:18). Thus,
northern imperial courts often escaped to the south when nomads overran the north.
While no samples in this study derive from North China, this area is
important for understanding the relationship between China and the steppe peoples.
Not only was northern China the center stage for the emergence of many early
Chinese states, it was the area where frontier interaction occurred between Chinese
agriculturalists and their northern nomadic neighbors.
Manchuria
China’s northeastern frontier lay in Manchuria. “Manchuria,” which
encompasses the modern Chinese provinces of Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang, is
20
a term that did not exist in ancient times, but is a modern creation by western
geographers. Today, the region is known as Dongbei (the Northeast) in China, but
to be consistent with western literature, the term Manchuria is retained here.
The Manchurian plain differs from China’s Yellow River valley in that it is
erosional rather than depositional. The rolling topography of Manchuria has three
natural environments: forest in the northern uplands, arable land in the river valleys,
and grasslands in the west (Di Cosmo 2002). Barfield has further divided
Manchuria into four major ecological zones (1989:19). The first is the agricultural
region of the lower Liao River plain and the Liaodong peninsula, which was linked
to the northern Chinese plain through a narrow mountain pass in ancient times.
While this region had been Chinese in culture since the Warring States period, its
physical isolation made it vulnerable to attacks by pastoral nomads and forest tribes.
During times of political weakness in China, this zone fell to nomadic control. The
second zone was the western steppe of Liaoxi and the Jehol Mountains, home to
pastoral nomads whose proximity to agriculturalists of the Manchurian plain
provided them with a sedentary economic base. The third, and largest, zone was the
forested area that bordered Korea and Siberia, occupied by villagers who practiced
a mixed economy of stock-raising and agriculture. The fourth zone was the coastal
zone of the far north, which supported hunters and fishers.
The mixed environment in Manchuria provided not only conditions for
mixed agricultural and pastoral economies, but was also the staging ground for
northern invasion by China’s most successful foreign dynasties due to its narrow
21
mountain corridor to China’s northern plain (Barfield 1989). The proximity of this
area to north China and to Mongolia’s nomadic tribes meant that inhabitants here
are heterogeneous, with many ethnic groups occupying these lands in ancient times.
In this study, the people derived from this region are categorized as “Northeastern.”
Mongolia
Directly north of China’s core area is Mongolia. The Mongolian plateau is
mostly steppe (temperate grasslands), punctuated by high mountain ranges. While
the Gobi Desert, which divides the northern and southern grazing area, accounts for
two-thirds of Mongolia’s area, the Gobi is better described as a dry steppe rather
than a desert (Barfield 1989). Inner Mongolia (today an autonomous region of
China) is the southern part of the Mongolian plateau that lies on the Chinese side of
the Gobi Desert and is described as the “country of long grass” (Naval Intelligence
Division 1944). The margins of the plateau have higher rates of precipitation and
support the most intense aggregation of human habitation.
The elevation of the Mongolian steppe (approximately 1,500 meters) is
higher than the sea level-Turkic steppe to the west. This change in elevation marks
Mongolia’s western ecological boundary, and demarcates the traditional limit of the
political and cultural influence of its peoples (Barfield 1989:16-17). To the north
and northeast of the plateau lay Siberian forests, home to small forest tribes of
hunters and reindeer herders (Barfield 1993). Of importance to this study is the
southern Mongolia region, which marked the frontier with China. Southern/Inner
22
Mongolia is a transitional zone that could support either nomads or farmers, but
more importantly served as a gateway to Chinese goods. This area was one of
constant tension, epitomized by the construction and maintenance of the Great Wall
by the Chinese state. In ancient times the largest numbers of nomads were located
in the southern steppe region bordering China, particularly the Ordos Plains, Jehol
Mountains, and western Manchuria. The occupants of this area are categorized as
“North-central” in this study.
Xinjiang
Northwest of central China lie the arid lands of Xinjiang (also known as the
autonomous region of Chinese Turkestan), which extend from the Gansu corridor
into China on the east and into Central Asia on the west. Xinjiang traditionally was
the region of international trade that connected western and eastern Asia through
caravan routes along the famed Silk Road. The eastern border with Mongolia was
not distinct, but rather a gradual transition from the Mongolian plains to an
increasingly arid zone that no longer supported nomadic pastoralism. Xinjiang is
bounded on the north by the Tianshan Mountains and Eurasian steppe, and to the
south by the mountains of Tibet, the Pamirs, and the Hindu Kush. The Pamir
Mountains separate Xinjiang into eastern and western sections. This divide was not
only a physical barrier, but also a cultural divide of Eurasia, separating those who
focused toward Iran and Europe to the west versus those who interacted more with
China to the east. The western area had drainage from the Amu Darya and Syr
23
Darya Rivers (also known as the Oxus and Jaxartes), which supported heavier
population densities, and had major cities such as Bukhara and Samarkand.
This study focuses on several populations from the northern Xinjiang area,
which had a series of oases encircling the Tarim Basin that supported sparse
settlement within the Taklamakan desert. Nomads of this area are categorized as
“North-western” in this study.
History of Research
Most modern archaeological research on the rise of social complexity in
China has centered around the North China (Central) Plains in the Yellow River
valley and the Yangtze River valley in central China (Underhill 1997). These
studies emphasize the importance of agriculture, concomitant with food storage, a
shift to aggregated living, and status differentiation as paramount to the
development of Chinese social stratification and state formation (Chang 1986).
Thus the ancient Chinese civilization is seen as inexorably intertwined with
sedentary agriculture and its associated high population density and centralized
bureaucratic government. These attributes seemed diametrically opposed to the
migratory pastoralists with their low population densities and tribal organization.
China saw imperial expansion as the spread of its civilizing influence to the
“barbarians,” people with external ethnic affiliations (Nelson 1995), namely the
nomads along the northern frontier.
24
The study of culture contact between ancient China and the northern frontier
benefits immensely from Chinese written documents dating from the first
appearance of nomads during the late Bronze Age (Barfield 1989). Official Chinese
records provide much information regarding court policy and include descriptions
of foreign tribes along China’s northern frontier. More importantly, these accounts
emphasize the confrontation between China and the steppe nomads, who
continually presented a political and military problem to China, a theme that has
persisted in modern studies (Di Cosmo 2002).
Frequently studied are the accounts by Han court historian, Sima Qian (ca.
145 – 90 BC), the Grand Historian to the Han Emperor Wu-di and China’s foremost
historian through the centuries. Having studied ruins, relics, and texts dating from
841 BC, he completed the 130-chapter Shi Ji (Historical Records), a synthesis of
ancient Chinese history for the previous 2000 years, from the semi-mythical
prehistoric era to his own time.
With regards to the history of the northern nomads, Sima Qian relied on
oral accounts from those who had lived among them or had gained knowledge from
diplomatic encounters (Di Cosmo 2002:268-270). Thus, our knowledge of nomadic
groups such as the Xiongnu of Mongolia may be biased in several perspectives.
These include the persons from whom Sima Qian obtained his information, Sima
Qian himself, and the influence of the current ideological thought during his
lifetime. Nevertheless, these sources provide rich descriptions and contemporary
ethnographic information, and his systematic work set the standard for succeeding
25
court historiographers and government-sponsored histories. With each new ruler
and/or dynasty, court historians modeled his thoroughness in providing a review of
previous dynasties, documenting current court policies, and paying special attention
to the requisite section on foreign relations with the steppe nomads (Barfield 1989).
This backward-looking orientation in the Chinese, whose scholar-literati
bureaucratic elite had to pass grueling exams on ancient texts, meant that the study
of ancient relics and writings began early in China (Gungwu 1985). However,
“archaeology” in this early form was antiquarian in approach, focusing on cultural
relics (Trigger 1989), as is exemplified by Northern Song scholar Lü Dalin’s An
Illustrated Study of Ancient Things, published in AD 1092.
Formal archaeological studies of the northern frontier began in the late 19th
century when Russian and Swedish scholars focused on the ancient history of
cultures occupying and traversing Xinjiang, while Japanese researchers initiated
investigations into Manchuria’s past. Modern archaeological research began in
China’s heartland after the end of World War I (see Table 1.1 in Pak 1995:8 for list
of expeditions). In 1916, the Geological Survey was organized in Beijing by
Western scientists such as Swedish geologist, John Andersson, who introduced
western field methods (Olsen 1987; von Falkenhausen 1993). Having seen the
traditional worldview of Chinese superiority severely tested during interactions with
Western colonial powers, Chinese scholars began to critically examine ancient
historical texts (Shelach 1999:49). Following this intellectual critique (dubbed the
May 4th movement) in 1919, scholarly disciplines such as archaeology were
26
embraced by academics as a means to test the validity and accuracy of these ancient
texts (Olsen 1987:283).
Archaeology in China, however, has been used primarily as a method to
illustrate known historical events and as a means to support nationalistic agendas,
such as proof of China’s glorious past. Moreover, research questions were (and
continue to some extent to be) oriented under a Marxist unilineal evolutionary
framework for social evolution derived from the work of Engels and Morgan
(Chang 1986; Olsen 1987; von Falkenhausen 1993). Many have leveled critiques
against this framework, arguing that Engels lacked ethnological, archaeological, and
historical cases to back his premises, and that the work was a product of his own
cultural biases (e.g., Reiter 1977). Nevertheless, it is important to briefly review the
major premises because it is the leading paradigm in Chinese archaeology used to
explain social evolution (Chang 1986), and has been virtually unquestioned until
recently.
Following L.H. Morgan’s evolutionary scheme (1877), Engels (1972
[1884]) in The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, posited that
pre-state societies were matriarchal. The Chinese Marxist perspective on the
prehistoric past holds that early prehistoric society in China is presumed to have
been matrilocally organized and matriarchally administered (Jiao 2001). This
paradigm assumes that there was a concomitant shift from matriarchal tribes to
patriarchal clans with the shift to plow agriculture. Moreover, it is believed cultures
unfolded in predictable ways, with matriarchal tribes inevitably turning into
27
patriarchal clans, then ancient slave states, followed by feudal society. The levels
are treated as if they were inevitable and are not seen as requiring any explanation
(Nelson 1995). This matriarchal-to-patriarchal schema has for the most part been
unquestioned and untested by Chinese scholars.
This rigid and sterile model, as adopted from the works of Morgan (1877)
and Engels (1972 [1884] ), guided research for decades, especially during Mao
Zedong’s tenure, to the detriment of advancement in theoretical construction (Tong
1995) and the exploration of alternative types of social complexity (Shelach 1999).
In the 1970s, new archaeological discoveries in sites located in the “periphery” that
had art objects of comparable and even superior quality to those from the core in the
Central Plains marked the beginning of a regional perspective, known as the
“regional systems and cultural types” approach (Chang 1999), which incorporated
consideration of interaction spheres. Thus, the past few decades have seen a more
broad interest that shifted focus from archaeological sites associated with
“traditional” centers to neglected regions and to considerations of alternative views
of the past (Bingqi 1999; von Falkenhausen 1995).
In recent years China has dramatically increased research in the Great Wall
frontier region, for instance with establishment of the Frontier Archeology Center at
Jilin University in 2000 (located in Manchuria) from an earlier incarnation in 1986.
While systematic archaeological surveys were rarely conducted in the past, there
have been recent long-term surveys to elucidate settlement patterns and spheres of
interaction. Following regulation for foreign participation in archaeological work in
28
1991, there has also been an increase in international collaborative endeavors
(Murowchick 1997). These include the Chifeng International Collaborative
Archaeological Research Project, which has taken a regional approach to studying
the northern frontier (Linduff et al. 2002; Neimenggu 2003) as well as other
projects in the Chinese core (e.g., Underhill et al. 2002).
In particular, western researchers have been drawn to the history of
pastoralism and frontier interaction between China and the northern steppes cultures
(e.g., Barfield 1989; Di Cosmo 1994; Hulsewé 1979; Jagchid and Symons 1989;
Prušek 1971; Pulleyblank 1983; Rossabi 1983; Wang 1983; Watson 1971; Yang
1968). Most archaeological investigations focus on burial treatment and grave
goods as a means to study the nomad cultures. Based on these findings,
archaeologists have developed several criteria for use in identifying early northern
steppe nomads. These attributes include the lack of settlements, a predominance of
animal bones, numerous remains of sacrificed animals, and the appearance of the
“Scythian triad” assemblage of weapons, animal-style decorations, and horse
harnesses (Di Cosmo 2002:56).
Research in Sociopolitical Organization and Interregional Interaction
The influential research of Lattimore (1940) on the history of relations
between China and Inner Asia described nomads and agriculturalists as separated
by a boundary that was not only ecological, but also political and economic.
Chinese conceptions of world order centered on China as an island of civilization
29
surrounded by uncivilized peoples (hence China’s self description as the “Middle
Kingdom”). As the ancient Chinese empire expanded, it encountered frontier
polities that were external to the “civilized” Chinese center and considered
“barbarian” by the ruling ethnic majority, Han Chinese (Tao 1983). Periodic
emergence of nomadic states in Inner Asia that were able to encroach on Chinese
territories threatened the Chinese worldview.
China’s forms of imperial control and governance have been studied
extensively (e.g., see the 15-volume Cambridge History of China; Balazs 1964;
Loewe 1990; Ropp 1990; Twitchett and Fairbank 1978). A pattern of dynastic
emergence and collapse has been ascribed to the series of China’s courts, and all
had several features in common, whether dynasties were native or non-Chinese in
origin. Each required a large centralized bureaucracy to rule over vast geographic
expanses and disparate groups. Further, each new dynasty needed to establish
legitimacy for rule, by providing a persuasive argument for having obtained the
“Mandate of Heaven.” Military control was also necessary to maintain defenses,
and each dynasty was concerned with fortifications along the northern frontier (e.g.,
Loewe 1967; Williams 2002).
Occasionally nomadic confederacies proved strong enough and organized
enough to dictate the terms of their relationship with China. When China was
unable to deal effectively with the nomads, imperial courts appeased them by
paying expensive tributes to maintain peace. These payments were an embarrassing
undertaking which Chinese historians euphemistically recorded in texts as a more
30
palatable tributary relationship, with China giving “gifts” to subject powers that
recognized China’s supremacy (Rossabi 1983). Marriage treaties between Chinese
princesses and tribal leaders were also a means of appeasement and recognition of
equal status between China and powerful nomadic tribes, such as exemplified by
the heqin (ho-chi’in) treaty, “peace through kinship relations” (Di Cosmo 2002:192194). As will be discussed in the next chapter, the different forms of frontier
interaction between China and steppe nomads were shaped not only by the policies
of the imperial court and the strength of China’s influence, but also by the social
organization within the pastoral tribes and their proximity to China (Barfield 1989,
1991, 2001).
Conclusion
This section has provided a brief history of China and the northern frontier
cultures. Their sociopolitical and economic development was largely influenced by
ecological conditions, which in turn structured interregional interaction between
imperial China and the pastoral nomads. While I gave a short overview of the
history of research and investigations into culture contact here, the following
chapter provides more detailed discussion of theoretical models proposed for the
relationship between China and the nomadic steppe peoples.
31
Chapter 3: Theories and Research Models of Chinese–Frontier
Interaction
Introduction
The pervading trend in previous research on the relationship between China
and nomads has been not only reliance on Chinese textual evidence for
interpretations, but also a core-centric (in this region, sinocentric) focus that
highlights the influential impact of Chinese culture. Moreover, when nomadic
pastoral societies are considered, their lifeways are often generalized, thus ignoring
the variety in ecology, economy, and sociopolitical organization found among them
(Irons 1979). In the present study I attempt to counter the gaps in our understanding
of Chinese history produced by this myopic view by: 1) critically examining
previous theoretical constructions of culture contact and frontier studies, and 2)
using bioarchaeological evidence as an independent means of testing models and
providing new perspective on the diversity of pastoral nomadic lifestyles and
experiences along the northern frontier.
This chapter begins with consideration of the traditional Chinese worldview
and how it has influenced methods of studying frontier interaction. This section is
followed by a brief review of Western anthropological models of culture contact,
core–periphery relations, and frontier studies. More recent models that focus on the
role of nomadic pastoralist in interregional interaction with China are presented as a
32
framework to be tested through bioarchaeological analyses. Finally, a discussion of
the bioarchaeological approach addresses its potential contribution to the present
questions with respect to the biological consequences of differences in subsistence
mode, sociopolitical organization, and the impact of imperial control.
Traditional Chinese View of Foreign Relations
The idea of “China” as a country and of the people as “Chinese” (Hua-Xia 1 )
seems to have emerged prior to the imperial age, which commenced in the 3rd
century BC. By 4000 BC adjacent regional cultures in the Central Plains (North
China) appear to have been in contact, with sphere-wide distribution of shared
ceramic styles in cooking vessels, knives, and art motifs, suggesting a broad,
regional interaction sphere (Chang 1999). Chang has proposed that the shared
cultural attributes in this interaction sphere be labeled as “Chinese,” as this region
was the central staging area of processes leading to the formation of China
(idid:59). It was here around the Yellow River Basin that several chiefdom-level
polities, then states, arose, while societies external to this “core” area, especially
those that did not engage in that hallmark of civilization, agriculture, were viewed
as foreigners.
This conception of a cultural and political cohesiveness is evident during the
political decentralization of the latter half of the (Eastern) Zhou Dynasty (770 – 256
BC), which immediately preceded the imperial age. Zhou states clearly had a
1
While “Han Chinese” refers to the majority ethnic group in China, an older (pre-Han Dynasty)
name for this ethnic group is Hua-Xia.
33
conception of the political boundary of an inner Chinese core as they vied for power
and simultaneously fended off attacks from foreign polities (Di Cosmo 2002:93).
This boundary rested on the notion of a radiating civilization, so that people who
were farther not only in geographical distance but also who differed more radically
in moral and cultural attributes from those of the Hua-Xia people were considered
less “civilized.”
The various forms of interaction China had with outside groups were
influenced by this geographically- and culturally-based perception of world order
that accounted for where outsiders fit into the scheme. Studies of Chinese relations
with foreigners have been heavily reliant on the historical accounts available, which
are especially rich beginning with the Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220). While the
Chinese empire was classically identified as encompassing “all under Heaven” (tian
xia), as Han Chinese expanded in territory and in geographical knowledge, China’s
self-image of its own geographical position transformed under the realization that
China was not the only “civilized” country in the world (Twitchett and Loewe
1986:378-379). However, Han Chinese remained firmly sinocentric in the politicocultural sense, and their concern was entrenched in the “establishment and
maintenance of the Chinese world order, which was by definition sinocentric…
[and which] expressed itself in an institutional form” (ibid.:379). This perception
structured how the government negotiated their internal and external interactions.
Han world order was idealized by the five-zone (wu-hu) theory, whereby
China was divided into five concentric and hierarchical zones or areas (Twitchett
34
and Loewe 1986:378-379). The innermost “central” zone was the royal domain.
Next, surrounding this inner zone was the “lords” zone, which consisted of
peripheral states established by the king/emperor. Circumscribing these was the
“pacified” zone, made of those states conquered by the reigning dynasties.
“Barbarians 2 ” occupied the outer fourth and fifth zones. In particular, the fourth,
“controlled” zone was home to those groups supposedly under Chinese control,
albeit loosely, while the outermost “wild” zone was occupied by independent
groups. At the basic level, the five zones described a dichotomy between the inner
and outer areas. With respect to foreign relations, this dichotomy contrasted the
inner Chinese-ordered region with the disorderly, outer barbarian regions.
Moreover, this scheme not only identified foreigners based on geographic distance,
but also differentiated those foreigners who were either allies, or at least
assimilated, from those who were hostile.
While the five-zone theory was an idealized image of China and China’s
position relative to its neighbors, it was very influential in the development and
structure of foreign relations, especially during the Han Dynasty. These five levels
of hierarchy were (in principal) recreated in tributary relationships with the center.
Tributes of goods and labor were offered by groups within the five zones in
descending order, so that zones further outside the royal domain were sequentially
less regular in paying tributes. Although pre-imperial courts such as those of the
2
There is no exact Chinese equivalent to the western term; ancient Chinese distinguishes between
those foreigners allied with or under Chinese control (yao) vs. those who were outside of Chinese
influence and possibly hostile (fan), and later Chinese used hu to designate nomads in general (Di
Cosmo 2002:96-97, 129).
35
Shang Dynasty (ca. 17th – 12th century BC) had some form of a tributary system, the
institutionalization and systemic application of tributary practices to foreign
relations was largely developed by the Han imperial court (Twitchett and Loewe
1986).
Historical records from dynastic courts describe the flow of resources
between China and the “tributary” nomadic pastoralists (Yang 1968). These
detailed records, which are available as early as the Han Dynasty, describe the often
problematic relations between China and nomads. Perhaps owing to the source of
this documentary evidence, theories of the mode and consequences of these
interactions are often sinocentric, focusing on the policies and motivations of the
Chinese empire. The traditional model of interaction assumes that nomadic pastoral
populations relied heavily upon the goods of imperial China, especially their
agricultural comestibles and textiles. This dependency is believed to have driven the
nomads to assert a “trade or raid” political position and was the external force that
incited the development of a more hierarchal militaristic social organization in
nomadic pastoral societies (Jagchid and Symons 1989).
Chinese imperial relations with foreigners were fluid, however, and were
dependent on an array of factors. These included the dynamics of the reigning court
and the relative political, economic, and military strengths and weaknesses of the
empire and the nomadic polity in question. Chinese policy was also influenced by
the Confucian and Legalist underpinnings of imperial political philosophy. As
mentioned previously, while hegemonic states vied for control during the pre-
36
imperial Warring States period (481 – 221 BC), several philosophical schools of
thought on statecraft arose. The two that had the longest lasting effects were
Confucianism, which emphasized morality, and Legalism, which emphasized the
strict “rule of law” (Gernet 1998).
Owing to the ideological dichotomy of these philosophies, analysis of
Chinese interaction with foreigners has often fallen into two categories of
“morality.” Researchers make interpretations on the influences of Confucianism or
Legalism depending on the tone of the policy in question; that is, whether it
promoted peace, or instead promoted war (Di Cosmo 2002:104). When a policy
emphasized pacifist actions, such as educating and influencing foreigners through
exposure to virtue and exemplary behavior, these endeavors have been ascribed to
Confucian influence, which stressed moral cultivation. When policies were more
military in nature, these actions have been attributed to Legalist emphasis on taming
and imposing order by force.
However, interaction with outsiders was rather more fluid and pragmatic
than the simple peace or war dichotomy characterized by these two philosophies.
Interactions varied from active military engagement, expansion, and resettlement, to
treaties and trade and marriage alliances (Twitchett and Loewe 1986:196). For
example, it was often logistically impractical and a dangerous gamble to mount an
extended military campaign against the impressive nomadic mounted warriors, so
nomadic rulers of powerful confederacies were often treated generously. However,
on occasions when the nomads demanded too much or broke treaties, or at the other
37
end, Chinese rulers were secure on domestic affairs and wanted to enforce their
control or wanted to expand their territory, warfare ensued.
During the politically fragmented Eastern Zhou period, these policies were
influenced by the Zhou states’ need to survive and expand. Thus, the first strategy
was to conquer; the second to adopt peaceful diplomatic relations when conquest
was not viable; the third to govern and assimilate foreigners; and the fourth to use
foreigners for military aid or economic gains (Di Cosmo 2002:106). Later in the
Han Dynasty, Confucianists and Legalists heatedly debated the government’s
course of action in the face of constant threat from the powerful Xiongnu nomadic
confederacy to the north. In particular they disagreed on the merit of maintaining
frontier outposts and continuing military campaigns (Meserve 1982).
The policies fluctuated depending on practical concerns over the economic
resources and manpower available as well as the immediacy of the nomadic threat.
By the late imperial age (China’s last two dynasties), three imperial approaches to
control over the northern frontier had emerged, which scholars have identified as: 1)
military expansion (until it became too expensive); 2) trade through licensed
merchants at frontier markets and “tribute” sent to the emperor, where nomads
presented horses and other pastoral goods in exchange for Chinese products (all to
decrease border raids); and 3) defensive segregation through wall-building (Perdue
2005:34).
It is obvious, then, that imperial historical documentation, though often
core-centric, furnish valuable information regarding these court policies, military
38
forays, treaties with the nomads, and details about the flow of goods and other
economic relations. From these accounts, a cyclical pattern of imperial–frontier
relations emerges, whereby the Chinese policy was usually one of appeasement:
signing expensive peace treaties that provided nomads with direct subsidies and
markets that supplied agricultural products and luxury items to underwrite the
political power of emerging nomadic leaders (Barfield 2001). However, as Di
Cosmo notes, the textual evidence that has “traditionally been used to support the
view that a cultural and moral divide existed may actually reflect aspects of political
change [in response to actual circumstances] behind the foreign policy strategies”
(2002:97). Thus, while historical texts are useful for guiding research,
interpretations derived from such document-based sources benefit from multiple,
independent lines of evidence. These include testing assumptions through models of
culture contact.
Culture Contact
Investigation into the interregional interaction between the peoples of China
and the northern frontier necessitates a brief review of culture contact studies. The
framework for investigation into culture contact in China has traditionally depended
on models of acculturation, diffusion, and assimilation. These themes are so
entrenched in Chinese studies that “sinification” or “sinicization” (broadly defined
by the Oxford English Dictionary as the act of “invest[ing] with a Chinese
character”) are commonly used in the social sciences to describe the assimilation of
39
non-Han Chinese peoples into Chinese identity. These terms imply the
unidirectionality of cultural transmission and the seemingly inevitable adoption of
Chinese behavior and culture by non-Han people, as well as ignoring issues of
agency, resistance, identity, and transculturation. Nonetheless the terms and their
“sinocentric” associations permeate the literature (Chinese and western) of
situations of culture contact between China and other groups.
A great deal of early anthropological literature is focused upon the issues of
acculturation and culture change (e.g., Bohannan and Plog 1967; Redfield et al.
1936). While early uses of acculturation as a research framework have been
critiqued extensively 3 , these critiques have led to models with more integrative
considerations in culture contact. Current culture contact studies in anthropology
seek not only to explore how contacts between populations influence social change,
but also how culture contact, often resulting in conflict, relates to social structure
and the nature of power relations (Cusick 1998b). Models of imperial organization
have been influenced by Wallerstein’s (1974) work on world systems that describes
empires in terms of the core and periphery. Often embedded in world systems and
core–periphery models are assumptions of unequal relations, with a core that
exploits a less socially organized, passive periphery (D'Altroy 1992).
Wallerstein’s (1974; 1980; 1989) world systems theory (WST) provides a
framework for understanding and explaining long-term, large-scale social change in
3
Criticisms of the acculturation concept by American scholars concentrate on the assumptions
regarding western and non-Western groups. These include the emphasis on one-sided Western
impact, unbalanced view of power relations, and its lack of effectiveness as a predictor of culture
contact effects (Cusick 1998a).
40
terms of forces that originate from the outside. This framework, developed from
studies of capitalism in modern European contexts, incorporates aspects of core–
periphery models in which a less productive/complex periphery is exploited by a
more powerful core in fundamentally asymmetrical power relations. Three main
assumptions are that: 1) the core dominates the periphery through a combination of
military, technological, or organizational superiority; 2) the core controls
asymmetric long-distance exchanges; and 3) interregional trade determines
peripheral political economy and is a prime mover of social change. Some
researchers have been attracted to this theory as a means to address intersocietal
contact in the pre-industrial age, extending its applicability from the 13th century
AD to five millennia in the past (e.g., Abu-Lughod 1989; Frank and Gills 1993).
While there was a spate of research using this framework, several criticisms
have been leveled at WST. Not only has there been concern with applying the
model to pre-modern archaeological studies, but there are also critiques that the
paradigm is too abstract, core-centric, and emphasizes a passive periphery and trade
of bulk goods (Blanton and Feinman 1984; Santley and Alexander 1992; Schneider
1977). Recent studies have transformed this core-centric view into one that
incorporates considerations of peripheral peoples as active agents (Rice 1998).
More specifically, some researchers have adapted Wallerstein’s work as a paradigm
of interregional interaction by incorporating ideas of agency, resistance of local
actors, non-static (fluctuations), the importance of distance in relation to power, and
41
incorporation of an interregional interaction perspective, which address the fact that
interactions are not uniform throughout the network (Hall 1999; Stein 1999).
Through this new focus, current studies address ways that different forms of
power (political, ideological, economic, and military) are distributed over the social
landscape, thus providing a richer view of the dynamics of interaction (Stein 1999).
This alternative paradigm also places on emphasis on treating assumptions of the
WST as hypotheses to be tested. The current investigation of interactions between
China and neighboring pastoral societies is structured around these new
considerations of the “core” and the “periphery.” The bioarchaeological data
address whether interregional relations among China and these societies were based
on core exploitation of the periphery, the motivations and initiatives of peripheral
polities, or an amalgamation of both.
Frontiers
While the Chinese state had a long history of interactions with pastoral
groups, especially those along the northern steppe, these nomadic societies
continually fluctuated in their status (from the Chinese state’s perspective) as either
a controlled “pacified” or a wild “barbarian” zone of outsiders. These outsiders
occupied that dynamic space that scholars frequently label the “Inner Asian
frontier” (e.g., Lattimore 1940). Frontiers are intriguing because they serve spatially
and temporally as the stage for cultural contact.
42
As anthropologists and archaeologists have expanded their attention from
the core to frontier and culture contact situations, there has been a recognized need
for a systematic framework for “frontier studies,” including clarification of
terminology, defining factors influencing frontier dynamics, and determining how
these dynamics affected the core and regions beyond the frontier (e.g., Parker and
Rodseth 2005; Rice 1998; Roësler and Wendl 1999). According to Parker
(2002:373), frontiers differ from the geo-political dividing line marked by borders
in that frontiers encompass a loosely defined area or transitional zone between two
distinct political, administrative, or cultural units of varying degrees of complexity.
Thus, as Lattimore noted, although China’s Great Wall was meant to demarcate a
strict divide, “the linear Frontier never existed except in concept” (Lattimore
1962:115).
Beyond issues of terminology, Parker (2002; 2006) has emphasized the need
to study frontiers through comparisons of different frontier situations and through
the use of models that characterize and analyze common themes. He has created
two models to study interregional interaction. The “continuum of boundary
dynamics” model aids in characterizing the types of boundary situations, while a
“borderland matrix” elucidates the dynamic interaction between different types of
boundaries through time. These models evaluate forms of interaction among the
frontier populations based on geographic, political, demographic, cultural, and
economic data of the regions in question. The models, which recognize the range of
situations from a static, restrictive border to a porous, fluid frontier, are useful for
43
categorizing, describing, and comparing different types of boundaries and frontiers,
especially in the present study where China and its northern neighbors continually
negotiated shifting frontiers and changing relationships. While the primary source
of data is from human remains, this study follows Parker’s recommendation in that
samples are grouped in consideration of geographical location, mode of economy,
level of imperial influence/time period, and population demographic structure.
Inner Asian Frontier: The “Needy” Model
As mentioned previously, the influential research of Lattimore (1940) on the
history of interaction between China and the Inner Asian frontier described the
pastoral steppe nomads and agricultural empire as separated by a boundary that was
not only ecological, but also political and economic. The historiography of ancient
China portrays non-Han people as greedy and aggressive barbarians with a neverending lust for Chinese goods (Honey 1992). Di Cosmo (1994) notes that this
stereotype was used by the ancient Chinese to explain the development of powerful
nomadic states that confronted China militarily and politically.
In modern studies this “greedy” theory has developed into a “needy” theory,
based upon the premise that nomadic pastoralism does not exist outside of a
symbiotic relationship with farming communities that provide the pastoralists with
essential carbohydrates in the form of staple cultigens, while pastoralists provide
animals and their products. For example, Khazanov, in his study of modern
Eurasian steppe societies, argues that nomadic pastoral populations are not selfsufficient because agricultural foods are an essential part of their diet (1984:69-84).
44
Thus, the dependency of pastoralists on agrarian goods is supposed to have induced
a “trade or raid” strategy with the Chinese state, in which agriculturalists provided
pastoralists with a stable supply of essential resources such as grain (Jagchid and
Symons 1989).
Trade relations between nomads and China spanning since at least the
Warring States period are well documented in text references and by archaeological
evidence (Jacobson 1988). Exchanged products included, from China, cultigens,
tea, cotton, and luxury items, while pastoralists provided livestock and the products
thereof (wool, felt, foodstuffs), as well as transport camels and horses (Krader
1979:225). Di Cosmo has suggested that early Chinese polities had two main
motivations for trade with the steppe people, which ultimately had consequences for
state formation and imperial expansion (2002:131-134). The proximate reason for
trade was for access to horses, which the nomads had in abundance. This trade in
horses ultimately had far-reaching economic and military significance for the
process of state formation and later imperial expansion in China as rulers adopted
cavalry and mounted archers in their military strategy for strengthening defenses
and expansion. Moreover, through conquest of peripheral nomadic groups and
through expansion, Chinese states were able to cut out potential nomadic
middlemen and secure direct access to markets and communication routes with
distant foreigners.
Although focus on the relationship between Inner Asian nomads and China
has often centered on the wars of conquest, Krader (1979:226) contends warfare
45
was the atypical situation; instead a vast continent-wide exchange system was the
norm. Lattimore (1979) concurs that relations between nomads and sedentary
peoples were not necessarily rooted in aggression. However, he suggests that the
steppe nomads’ demand for Chinese goods, especially grain, textiles, and iron,
exceeded the Chinese demand for pastoral products. He further suggests that this
discrepancy accounts for the development of the powerful Xiongnu empire (209 BC
– AD 155) in the steppes, which successfully forced the reluctant Han Dynasty to
deliver such goods. He described an interdependent relationship between China and
Inner Asian polities, which appear to have risen and fallen in power together
(Lattimore 1940).
Krader (1979), however, critiqued the premise that the nomadic state only
formed in conjunction with state formation of agricultural China as one that was
rooted in the theory of diffusionism and that was unidirectional in focus. The recent
works of Barfield (1989; 1991; 2001) and Di Cosmo (1994; 1996; 2002) address
this issue by concentrating on the nomadic perspective, including the synchronic
and diachronic diversity in forms of interaction.
“Shadow Empires”: Model of Nomadic State Formation
Barfield (1989) has expanded upon Lattimore’s work to create a model of
cycles of Chinese dynastic history, and has made an important distinction between
the Mongolian and Manchurian nomadic pastoralists. He contends that steppe tribes
of Mongolia played a key role in frontier politics without conquering China (except
the brief Yuan Dynasty). Their nomadic states rose and fell in symbiotic
46
relationship with Chinese dynasties. For political and ecological reasons, Manchuria
to China’s northeast was, in contrast, a breeding ground of foreign dynasties within
China proper when native dynasties collapsed from internal rebellions. Barfield’s
model of interaction and state formation, which is described in more detail below,
has challenged core-centric views. His underlying assumption—that pastoral
populations needed agricultural goods, thus influencing nomadic-imperial
relations—has important bioarchaeological implications that I test in this study.
The political organization of the Mongolian nomads is closely intertwined
with the fate of Chinese dynasties. Barfield (1989; 1991; 2001) argues that complex
nomadic states arose to extort needed agricultural and luxury goods from a strong
Chinese empire that denied such access until threatened. The nomadic state’s
success lay in the military advantage of its horse cavalry and in its ability to
maintain cohesion of the tribal confederation through redistribution of exploited
goods to leaders of the participant tribes. The emerging nomadic elites became
dependent upon their trade/tribute relationship with a prosperous China that
underwrote their political power.
This relationship also benefited Chinese dynasties. In addition to pastoral
comestibles and products, nomadic leaders would send military assistance to
declining dynasties in order to maintain mutually beneficial trade relations
(Fairbank 1968). Thus, when a Chinese dynasty was weak or ultimately fell, the
nomadic states similarly disintegrated back to tribal organization with the demise of
47
their source of trade and tribute. Further, China’s alliances meant less risk of border
raids and avoiding costly military campaigns against the nomads.
When China was conquered by foreign peoples, they came from the mixed
economy populations of the Manchurian marginal zone. These foreigners
maintained smaller polities along the frontier that combined both Chinese and tribal
traditions within a single administration. Barfield suggests that most foreign
dynasties emerged from the Manchurian borderlands because these regions were
inhabited by both Chinese and tribal peoples. Local rulers learned by adoption of
Chinese administrative policy and by experimentation how to organize and govern
such a dual system. Thus, when their forces moved from the northeast into the
Chinese core, they had already developed the rudiments of political organization
suited for ruling China.
When native Chinese dynasties fell, Manchurians were able to establish
several foreign dynasties in north China, including Northern Wei (AD 386 – 556),
Liao (AD 907 – 1125), Jin (AD 1115 – 1234), and finally the Manchu/Qing (AD
1644 – 1912), the last imperial dynasty of China. Barfield (1989) attributes this
phenomenon in part to the more egalitarian Manchurian pattern of tribal
organization. Lacking the unified military and diplomatic pressure of the Mongolian
nomadic confederacies, Manchurian tribes could not access the closed tributary
system until such confederacies collapsed, at which point they negotiated their own
relations with China, usually of a more hostile nature. Their violent policy towards
China stemmed from their lack of strong central leadership and their fragmented
48
political structure. This prompted their leaders to use constant raiding of China as a
way to preserve unity. While both the nomads of Mongolia and Manchuria
occupied lands in close proximity to China, which often provoked aggressive
relations, the ability of Manchurians to effectively conquer and hold Chinese lands
meant the scale of warfare between tribes from Manchuria and China was more
intense if not also more frequent.
One final area under consideration here is the frontier region to the
northwest, which linked China to Central Asia. While the skeletal material from the
Xinjiang region observed for this study for the most part precedes the imperial age,
and thus can not directly address questions about interaction with the Chinese
empire, the collections do extend to the period of state formation (the Three
Dynasties era) and some into the early imperial age. Further, a brief discussion of
the nature of interaction gathered from historical views highlights the importance of
economic and geographic circumstances on intersocietal relationships between
China and pastoralists, what Stein (1998) described in his “distance-parity” model
for interregional interaction.
The ecology of Xinjiang was similar to Manchuria in that it could support
mixed economies, yet this similarity did not extend to its peoples’ relationship and
interactions with China, mainly because of geographical constraints. China was
connected to the northwest through the Gansu corridor leading into Xinjiang.
Around this corridor a string of oases ran from the Ordos desert in Inner Mongolia
49
west toward Xinjiang’s Hami County 4 . These oases were occupied by large
numbers of ethnic Han Chinese people, and since the early Han Dynasty, these
inhabitants had been an important part of the frontier defense (Hsu 1965). Like
other steppe regions following the Han Dynasty collapse, the northwest saw several
new dynasties arise, the most prominent under the name of the Liang state. Like
Manchuria, these dynasties incorporated a mixed population of nomads and
sedentary villagers, but unlike the northeast, the region played a marginal role in
China’s political history. The reasons for this discrepancy are related to the Liang’s
strategic position and its economic structure (Barfield 1989:117).
The Liang state, and any power that arose in Xinjiang, was separated from
central China by distance and arid terrain. Thus, it was a poor base for expansion, as
supplies and reinforcement would be severely constrained. In contrast, the relatively
short distance from Manchuria’s Liao area to the China’s Central Plains meant that
supplies were easily obtained and retreat relatively unproblematic for the
Manchurian invaders. The distance between oases also dictated that the economy
centered around a series of self-sufficient oases and caravan trade in exotic goods,
which largely insulated them from external economic pressures.
Therefore, when China collapsed, the Liang/Xinjiang region became
autonomous, but was too distant to mount a successful invasion. Thus Xinjiang only
formed regional states such as the three Liang states (~AD 397 – 421) during the
Sixteen Kingdoms period, or the Tangut state of Xixia (AD 990 – 1227). These
4
Hami is where several samples in this study are derived, see Chapter 5: Materials.
50
states promptly fell to whatever strong power unified the whole of north China. The
Han Dynasty sent forces to occupy this region when battling the nomadic Xiongnu
confederacy in the 1st century BC, but China lost control to the Uzbek tribes in the
2nd century AD and did not reoccupy the region for another 500 years. When that
unifying power came from the frontier, they usually came from Mongolia or
Manchuria.
To sum, Barfield’s model proposes that different forms of interregional
interaction were influenced by the social organization of the pastoral tribes and
logistical proximity to China. His model is premised on the primacy of agricultural
trade products as vital to supplementing the inadequate nutrition base of the
pastoralist economy. This deficit is assumed to have acted as a major inducement
for steppe nomadic interaction policies to attain goods from China. Barfield’s model
also assumes that China had more violent encounters with tribes from Manchuria
than those from Mongolia owing to the former’s lack of centralized leadership,
prompting constant raiding as a means to preserve tribal unity. This violence may
also have been associated with geographic constraints that provided Manchurians a
logistic advantage for invasion while Mongolians and those further in the northwest
found sustained violence unfeasible.
Bioarchaeological Implications
My research examines the nature of these relationships between the Chinese
empire and the frontier populations, and how differences in political and economic
51
organization as well as geographical distance within the Inner Asian frontier
(namely, Manchuria, Mongolia, and Xinjiang) structured social interactions with
China. As discussed in more detail in the following chapter, bioarchaeological data
provide a direct measure of relevant variables that are used to independently test
models of interregional frontier interaction with China. Here, I will summarize the
biological implications of the models of Chinese interaction with frontier
populations.
The preceding discussion of culture contact and world systems theory and
their modified application for more specific models of Chinese-nomadic interaction
in the “Needy” model and Barfield’s model show that all of these models share
common elements:
1) The Chinese “core” and nomadic pastoral “periphery”
2) Chinese imperialism as an influential force on pastoral life
3) The periphery’s, or nomadic pastoralist’s need for core goods, in this case
cultigens and luxury items
These commonalities may be extended further to suggest a contentious relationship
between the Chinese core and the frontier societies who continually penetrated
Chinese borders. Indeed, Chinese records give testimony to the frequent military
clashes and a series of appeasement treaties. These lucrative trade treaties may have
indicated periods of relatively peaceful relations between China and nomadic
societies.
However, while China was characterized by unified governance, rarely did
such organization exist among the many disparate nomadic tribes, and treaties
brokered under one tribal authority rarely lasted beyond his passing (Di Cosmo
52
2002:224). Beyond the question of whether there was predominantly a “trade” or
“raid” relationship between China and the nomads, or whether China “civilized” the
nomads or the nomads actively chose to adopt Chinese agricultural life and
settlement practices, the underlying assumption in either scenario is that the pastoral
nomads wanted access to Chinese goods, notably agricultural food products.
Thus, interaction between imperial China and pastoral nomads of the
northern frontier, shaped by ecological and cultural constraints, may be expected to
have impacted the biological health of the people and center on the issue of diet and
the means of food procurement. Diet directly correlates with health, and expected
shifts in subsistence from a pastoral diet to one incorporating more agricultural
products will leave a signature in populations undergoing this shift. Further, if
violence was a means to obtain food, evidence of injury and trauma may be
expected to be manifest in the remains of those who raided. A shift in subsistence
mode from nomadic pastoralism to settled agricultural life would not only signify
major changes in sociopolitical and economic transitions in the frontier groups, but
also changes to the health, diet, and activity markers of those populations. The next
chapter will explore the hypotheses and expectations of changes shaped by longterm interregional interaction between China and the frontier pastoral nomads.
Conclusion
This chapter has reviewed the major influences on studies of culture contact
and interaction and in studies of Chinese–frontier relations. The ancient Chinese
53
worldview greatly impacted not only China’s dealings with those outside of their
“civilized” zones, but also later interpretations of China’s relationship with steppe
nomads. The focus on core–periphery issues has traditionally been core-centric, a
view that was not limited to China, but in more generalized western models of
core–periphery interactions as well. This emphasis has shifted to incorporate
considerations of the motivations of peripheral societies, especially those of the
dynamic frontier zone.
The models of interaction between China and the nomads of the northern
frontier have emphasized the differences in subsistence strategy and the means to
procure comestibles and luxury items from the Chinese empire. Bioarchaeological
studies provide a biological perspective on these core–periphery interactions and
allow testing of the validity of these historically-based models and inferences. The
next chapter outlines the major hypotheses and bioarchaeological test implications
that are used to evaluate the processes and dynamics of interregional interaction.
54
Chapter 4: Bioarchaeological Models and Research Hypotheses
The study of skeletal and dental remains yields much information that is
pertinent to the issues surrounding the present study. These data on the lives of
people living at the periphery and outer frontier of the Chinese polity open a new
window into the health and socioeconomic consequences of long-term core–
periphery interactions. Through examination of skeletal stress markers of health,
diet, and patterns of activity and violence, my goal is to explore the nature and
mechanism of socioeconomic interaction in consideration of what has been
proposed by previous scholars, that is, whether relations centered on violent conflict
or the more peaceful forms of tribute and trade.
This chapter presents the bioarchaeological models and hypotheses that
address the two principal goals of this study: 1) exploring the ways in which the
different economic systems affected the health and nutritional status of these
populations, and 2) determining the health impact upon peripheral and frontier
societies associated with the level of imperial (that is, Chinese) influence as
measured over different time periods and geographic distances from the core. I also
assess the health consequences that increases in sociopolitical complexity and
agricultural dependence had for people living along the Chinese frontier. Further I
explore how the health of different segments of these frontier societies (men,
women, and children) was affected by these key variables (subsistence mode and
their interactions with the Chinese empire).
55
Bioarchaeological Approach
Bioarchaeology, with its emphasis on a biocultural perspective and
integrative, multidisciplinary methods for making inferences about the past (Buzon
et al. 2005), is an ideal approach for exploring the consequences of interaction
along the northern frontier. Data from human skeletal remains are a key for
reconstructing the lives of individuals and populations. At the individual level,
observations can be made upon health, biological affiliation, childhood stress,
disease, trauma, occupational markers, and diet. When multiple individuals are
recovered, inferences can be made upon the profiles of health, disease, and stress of
the population, as well as genetic relatedness, demography, diet, and activity.
Burials also give insights into the social aspects of the population to which
the buried belonged (e.g., Binford 1971; Saxe 1970; Tainter 1978). Researchers can
reconstruct a population’s level of social complexity through evidence of status and
differential treatment based on gender and age as seen in grave accoutrements,
health, trauma, and burial location. Evidence for war can be inferred by the pattern
of skeletal trauma and presence of mass burials, while political and economic
stability is reflected in a population’s health, and cultural boundaries through
variations in the forms of burial. Ideological information comes in the form of
discovering sacred space via location of remains, and information on cosmological
or religious beliefs can come through burial treatment (Pearson 1999).
Since the 1970s there has been a shift by many investigators to the
“biocultural” perspective, which rejects the traditional clinical mode of skeletal
56
study that focused on the diagnosis of individual “cases” and instead attempts to
characterize the biological status of the population to which that individual
belonged (Bush and Zvelebil 1991). This biocultural view is shared by the
bioarchaeological approach, which extends the population-oriented view to that of
ancient societies by taking consideration of archaeological context in reconstructing
the past. This approach answers questions about the general health of a population
through the analysis of a range of skeletal and dental features. In addition, the
pattern of disease in populations can be used to reconstruct differential access to
resources and exposure to stress (Goodman 1991). Thus, through the broad regional
and temporal sample of the present study, I can measure the health effects of
hypothesized stress from interregional interaction between agricultural China and
the nomadic pastoralists, including shifts in subsistence mode and violent conflict
between groups.
Impact of Stress on Human Health
As Goodman (1991) points out, skeletal markers of stress are signs of a
body’s struggle to adapt. The body reacts to stressors through a hierarchical series
of responses, with the skeletal system being one of the last to be affected. Thus, for
there to be any observable skeletal indicators of stress, the stress would have to be
severe and/or of substantial duration. Anthropologists studying these markers are in
fact looking at nonspecific indicators of stress since observation depends on the
57
indirect evidence of neuro-endocrine activity which can be detected in the teeth and
bone (Bush 1991).
From Neolithic to recent times, general trends in the fluctuations of stress
frequencies—that is, the impact of stress on human health—have been observed.
They appear to have been closely associated with major changes in human diet and
social organization that have occurred during this period, including subsistence
changes, sedentism, population growth, living conditions, and social changes (HussAshmore et al. 1982). The Selyean model of human response to stress (Selye 1936,
1956, 1973) has been applied by anthropologists to prehistoric populations because
the model can provide a useful time depth to the study of adaptation (Goodman
1988).
With Seyle’s work providing the framework, Goodman and coworkers
(1984) developed a model for the interpretation of skeletal indicators of stress
which shows how stressors affect the individual and the overall population’s
adaptation. They describe stress as a product of three factors: environmental
constraints, cultural systems, and host resistance. The environment is the source of
both essential resources and potential stressors that detrimentally affect adaptation.
Similarly, cultural systems may provide needed resources and act as a buffer to
environmental stressors, as well as magnify existing stresses or create new ones.
Host resistance depends on age, sex, genetic susceptibility, and resiliency. If the
physiological response is ineffective, then the population’s ability to survive may be
challenged (Goodman 1988:177).
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Goodman and colleagues (1984:15) organize indicators of stress into three
categories: indicators of general, cumulative stress; indicators of general, episodic
stress; and indicators of stress associated with specific diseases. They propose that
when host resistance and environmental constraints are held relatively constant,
variation in stress may be attributed to cultural differences. In cases where
environmental factors are not sufficiently buffered, either culturally or biologically,
then physiologic disruption, or stress, can result (Martin et al. 1985).
However, while it is useful for bioarchaeological analysis that stress may
manifest pathological lesions on human remains, some insults will not affect the
dental and skeletal systems, while others may induce death before those systems are
involved (Goodman 1991). Thus the remains of a person who has no skeletal
indicators of stress may have suffered from pathological conditions that led to rapid
death before symptoms appeared on the skeleton, or that person may have suffered
no such conditions at all. On the other hand, a person with skeletal lesions from a
pathological condition may actually be more “healthy” than the person who died
rapidly from similar conditions by virtue of the fact of survival for some period of
time long enough for the skeletal response. Such a paradoxical situation has the
potential to confound osteological interpretation, which was recognized by Wood
and colleagues (1992), who gave it the label of the “osteological paradox.”
Wood and coworkers (1992) argued that inferences about prehistoric health
from paleodemographic and paleopathological data are unreliable because three
fundamental problems complicate the interpretation of statistics calculated from
59
archaeological skeletal material. One is demographic nonstationarity, where small
deviations in fertility have large effects on age-at-death distributions in a
population, while large changes in mortality have almost no effect. Thus, a higher
number of immature individuals in a skeletal collection may reflect increased
fertility rather than higher mortality rates. A second problem involves selective
mortality in which under-representation of the true demographic structure of a
population occurs because data are only available for those who actually died at a
given age, but do not include the sample of all the individuals who were at risk of
disease or death at that age. The third problem is hidden heterogeneity in risks,
which refers to the fact that individuals differ in their susceptibility to disease and
death (frailty), but the susceptibility of any given individual from a skeletal
population remains unknown to researchers.
Wood and colleagues (1992) asserted that with these problems, it is
impossible to determine direct estimates of demographic or epidemiological rates
from osteological samples. Furthermore, they recommended that inferences about
health must be based on aggregate or population level statistics. For more accurate
representations of the past, the authors suggest: 1) developing better insight into the
likely sources of heterogeneity and the shape of the frailty distribution in real
populations; 2) understanding how a given frailty distribution is related to the
distribution of risks of death among individuals; 3) gaining more knowledge about
the pathological processes at the cell, tissue and organ level; and 4) developing a
60
better understanding of the role played by cultural contexts in determining
heterogeneous frailty and the level of selective mortality.
Goodman (1993) has addressed these problems by noting that Wood and
coworkers only focused on single, rather than multiple indicators of health in their
critiques. In addition, he suggests that they misinterpret the goals of
paleoepidemiology, and that their models do not accurately reflect biological
realities, nor do these models recognize credible cultural contexts. When addressing
selective mortality, Goodman notes that most skeletal pathological indicators
actually are lesions that signify survival for some time after the morbidity event.
With regard to hidden heterogeneity, he states that there is a direct correlation
between individual and group frailty. That is, if group frailty changes, then either
the size of subgroups or the frailty of one or more subgroups must change. Further,
in response to Wood and colleagues’ pessimistic view of osteological research,
Goodman calls attention to the numerous advances made in paleopathology. These
include the biocultural shift in focus from disease in individuals to rates of disease
in the population; reconstruction of prehistoric health through examination of
multiple pathological indicators; and the development of multiple lines of
investigation to aid in understanding and interpreting the cultural contexts of
skeletal lesions and the biological processes that led to their development.
Thus, in response to the valid concerns over the “osteological paradox”
presented by Wood and coworkers, bioarchaeologists today have developed more
comprehensive and systematic means to collect and evaluate their data to avoid or
61
at least minimize mistaken interpretations (Wright and Yoder 2003). Such measures
include the regular use of multiple indicators of health to get a more comprehensive
understanding of stress and adaptation (Steckel et al. 2002). This multiple indicator
approach is useful because health is a composite of nutrition, disease, and other
aspects of life history, and while bioarchaeologists may not always be able to tease
out the etiology of a specific disease or stress event, with multiple indicators, we
develop a more precise picture and more certainty in our interpretations.
Bioarchaeological Correlates: Shifts in Subsistence and Social Organization
Agriculturalism
Arguably, one of the most significant events in human biocultural history
was the Neolithic Revolution, when hunter-gatherer populations shifted to
dependence on cultivated plants. Price and Gebauer (1995:6) have argued that
“the most important factors in the transition (from foraging to farming) ...
include, in order of suggested importance, available protodomesticates,
human sedentism, higher population density, resource abundance,
geographic and/or social constraints, processing and harvesting technology,
storage, and wealth accumulation."
Adopting an intensive agricultural mode of subsistence necessitates settled life,
which affects population density and social organization, as well as providing a
surplus that may lead to unequal access and social differentiation (Hayden 1995).
Not only is social organization dramatically affected, but the health of populations
is profoundly affected as well, possibly for worse (Cohen and Armelagos 1984;
Lambert 2000; Larsen 1987). Cohen and Armelagos (1984) and Roosevelt (1984)
62
note that the adoption of agriculture and sedentary settlement in ancient populations
is often associated with a reduced mean age at death and comparatively high
frequency of pathological lesions, including those connected to malnutrition and
infectious disease. They interpret this tendency as indication of increased stress and
reduced survival at various ages, both signs of an apparent deterioration in general
health among early agriculturists. Cohen (1992) notes that in contrast to
agriculturalists, modern hunter-gatherers have low rates of anemia as well as low
rates of deficiency in proteins, vitamins, and minerals. In addition, highly mobile
hunter-gatherer groups are more likely to escape acute, epidemic “crowd” diseases
and parasitic load, unlike more sedentary, dense populations, leading to better
health in the former (Cohen and Armelagos 1984).
Concomitant with adoption of an agricultural lifestyle are major social
changes that include aggregated communal living, social stratification and
inequality, sexual division of labor and craft specialization, changes in exchange
networks, warfare, and technological innovations, as well as demographic
transitions and a host of biological consequences (e.g., Brumfiel and Earle 1987;
Cohen and Armelagos 1984; LeBlanc 2006; Price 1995; Steckel and Rose 2002).
These changes are amplified as societies increase in sociopolitical complexity, from
egalitarian bands to ranked chiefdoms, from stratified chiefdoms to states, and from
states to empires. Subsets within a society may be differentially exposed to and
buffered from various stresses. Elites for example, may be buffered from stresses
afflicting non-elites, or conversely, may suffer from situations introduced by their
63
status. In many societies, when comparing the sexes males may be accorded the
same status as elites. When comparing across age groups, adults may be more
privileged than juveniles in access to goods.
There is undeniably a link between status and health as shown by many
studies, prehistoric and modern (Larsen 1997). Stress is important to the study of
health and well-being and to the reconstruction of adaptation and behavior in
prehistoric societies. As noted above, stress is a product of three key variables:
environmental constraints, cultural systems, and host resistance. If we hold
environmental and host resistance constant, it is possible to measure the effect of
cultural systems as a potential buffer or inducer of stress and poor health. More
specifically, we can test the hypothesis that higher status individuals, because of
differential access to wealth and resources amongst other advantages, experience
less stress than lower status individuals.
Nomadic Pastoralism
Pastoralism requires mobility to maximize “the use of an extensive resource,
the natural pasture, spread over the terrain” (Salzman 2004:3), while nomadic
pastoralism refers to “populations that specialize in animal herding, which requires
periodic movement for purposes of grazing” (Crawford and Leonard 2002:1-2). It is
important to remember that the domestication of plants did not always lead to a
predictable trajectory for settled life, but also enabled domestication of animals and
the specialization in a pastoral lifestyle for some groups, including several in this
64
study. It has been argued that some form of plant domestication was a precondition
for domestication of animals (Vejnshtein 1984); thus farming pre-dates the advent
of pastoralism.
Among the variety of nomadic pastoral lifestyles, each society has its own
unique pattern of development and interaction with nearby sedentary populations.
They do share, however, an economic reliance on domesticated herds (Barfield
1993). There are two basic strategies to care for livestock. The first is to have a
main sedentary residential group, with a subset following and overseeing the mobile
livestock. The second, the nomadic strategy, involves the movement the entire
residential group and the livestock (Barfield 1993). Thus, there is a continuum of
the type of nomadic pastoralism practiced, from those living in settled communities,
to those moving in nomadic camps. In this study, some sites employed the first
mixed economic strategy (e.g., the Manchurians, who engaged in agropastoralism,
which is characterized by close interactions between activities related to crops and
livestock, and sometimes by seasonal transhumance), while others were nomadic
pastoralists (e.g., samples from Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang).
The recent tide of research into issues of inequality (e.g., Paynter 1989) are
relevant to studies of pastoral societies, where previous accounts have often painted
nomadic pastoral societies as essentially egalitarian (e.g., ethnography of the Nuer
in Sudan by Evans-Pritchard 1940). However, organization in pastoral societies
varies and is influenced by the degree of mobility within each group.
65
In his studies of modern pastoralists, Salzman (1999; 2004:5-6) has
described the forms that pastoral organization may take. In those communities
where a subset of a stable community engage fulltime in pastoralist activities away
from the home base, there is a sharp divide between the sexes and age groups (older
to younger people), which may lead to not only greater independence of each
subgroup, but also greater potential for conflicts. Conversely, among nomadic
pastoralists that migrate as a community, there is more cohesiveness in the group,
but less independence. For example, most pastoral populations, especially those
where the whole community is mobile, are relatively unstructured in sexual division
of labor (Leonard et al. 2002). Thus, the pastoral strategy adopted is believed by
have influenced social organization, and ultimately, health.
Bioarchaeological research of the health consequences of subsistence
changes has focused primarily on the impact of the shift of subsistence from
hunting and gathering to agriculture, and relatively few studies have been conducted
on the health of pastoral populations (Leonard and Crawford 2002). Hunters and
gatherers do, however, share several characteristics with nomadic pastoralists
(relative to sedentary agriculturalists) that are useful in consideration of
comparisons between pastoral nomads and farmers. These similarities include high
mobility, low population density, and a more diversified diet, relative to sedentary
agricultural populations. The health of nomadic pastoralists is thus expected to have
declined as their dependence and access to agricultural products increased, as
delineated in finer detail below.
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Agricultural and Nomadic Pastoral Subsistence in China and the Frontier
Agriculture: Millet Diet
Millet, a small seeded plant, was the main cultigen of communities in
northern China around the Yellow River valley (Chang 1983; Yan 1992), especially
the foxtail (Setaria italica) and broomcorn (Panicum miliaceum) varieties
(Crawford 2006). The earliest site with evidence of seed-processing tools has
charcoal samples with radiocarbon dates close to 10,000 years ago (Zhou 1992).
Evidence of agriculture has been found in association with pottery and stone
polishing around this period (Chang 1999:47). The drier climate of northern China
was better suited to millet cultivation than was true in the south, where rice
dominated, and millet farming spread to the middle and lower Yellow River valley
by 7000 B.P. (Lu 1999).
Cultivation experiments on the domestication process of foxtail millet
suggest that the time and labor commitment needed to produce a valuable yield may
have encouraged sedentism in early Chinese cultivators, initiating a gradual change
from foraging to farming (Lu 1999, 2006). As agricultural intensification and
sedentism spread, agriculture continued to develop in the Central Plains as well as
outside this region. New crops were introduced and incorporated in the diet, so that
by 1000 – 500 BC, other cereal grains such as barley, wheat and rice, as well as
soybeans, beefsteak plants, melons, and gourds were part of the staple crops
(Crawford 2006).
67
In terms of nutritional value, millet is similar to wheat in protein value, with
some varieties providing 11% protein by weight. Millets are also rich in B vitamins
especially niacin, B6 and folic acid, as well as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium,
and zinc. However, milled cereal grains like millet and wheat have low values of
iron and are high in phytate, which inhibits human absorption of iron and can leave
skeletal leions. Studies of the Wadi Hafa populations in Nubia who relied heavily
on millet demonstrate high prevalence of orbital lesions from iron deficiency
anemia (Carlson et al. 1974) and premature osteoporosis in females (Martin et al.
1985). Chinese skeletal samples spanning the transition from small-scale farming to
heavy millet dependence had an increase in cranial porosities along with higher
rates of tooth decay and stature decreases (Pechenkina et al. 2002). A similar
decline in these health indices is expected among Inner Asian pastoralists as they
increased their dietary intake of such milled cereal grains.
Pastoral Nomadism: Animal Products
The Eurasian steppe is occupied by horse riding and herding nomads of
Central Asia. Archaeological evidence for the nomadic pastoralist economic pattern
suggests horse riding cultures first emerged in western Asia, and spread to the
Chinese northern steppe frontier by the fourth century BC 1 (Tao 2002; Volkov
1995). In the Eurasian steppe zone, which was marginal in resource availability,
1
Horses were used in China before the appearance of mounted steppe nomads, but only in
association with chariots, which were symbols of power during early states such as the Shang
Dynasty (Chang 1986). These horse riding nomads combined innovations for riding and mounted
archery (Barfield 1993:134).
68
nomads depended on horses, sheep, goats, cattle, and Bactrian camels (Barfield
1993).
Salzman (2004:1) has succinctly listed the importance of livestock for
pastoralists: 1) food (milk, meat, butter, and blood); 2) raw materials (wool, hair,
bones, and skin); 3) power for pulling loads and plowing; 4) transport of goods; 5)
riding for travel, warfare, and recreational purposes; and 6) ritual activities,
including sacrifice. Unlike pastoralists elsewhere, Eurasian nomads did not make a
distinction between transport and subsistence animals, but instead took advantage of
the multiple uses of their animals. For example, a horse was used for riding,
milking, for meat, or skinned for leather (Barfield 1993:137). They were also
unique in their emphasis on horse riding and archery, carts for transport, and yurts
for housing. Yurts were easily transportable as Eurasian nomads conducted their
seasonal migrations, from more densely settled winter camps, to summer pastures
that were more dispersed. Herds were split so that milking animals remained near
the camp and women expended much effort to milk processing (Barfield 1993:142),
while males cared for the animals grazing in distant pastures.
The diet of pastoral nomads derived in large part from pastoral products,
namely the milk and meat of their livestock, and occasionally blood (Barfield
1993:137). Meat products are high in nutrients essential to human diet, including
protein and essential amino acids. While modern domesticated livestock for
countries like the United States have muscle tissue that is high in fat, wild animals
(and those that are herded) are lean (Leonard et al. 2002), and relatively high in
69
polyunsaturated fatty acids, not saturated fats (Naughton et al. 1986). While horses
are strongly associated with the steppe nomads, sheep and goats are central to
steppe pastoralism because they reproduce more rapidly and consume a wider
selection of grasses, as well as provide the main source of food in milk and meat,
and other raw material products (Barfield 1993:139).
Studies of the diet and energy expenditures of modern pastoral and herding
groups provide useful insights into the diets of earlier nomadic Inner Asian
pastoralists. Among the nomadic pastoralists of Turkana in semi-arid East Africa,
milk from their livestock is the primary staple food, with blood and meat as
supplemental or emergency foods during drought situations when animals are
starving or dying (Little 2002). Meat consumption is relatively low except in these
instances of drought, during which meat (and protein) intakes rise dramatically.
Seasonal variations influence livestock productivity and hence dietary intake of
nutrients that affect the health status of the population, notably mothers and the
growth of offspring. Work is structured by age and sex and includes sedentary and
herding activities. Women’s labor is very diverse and depends on age, position in
household, care for children, and whether workers are needed for herding
(ibid.:170). Boys begin herding small flocks by the age of five years, and girls will
assist with domestic tasks during that same period. Until that age, nomadic children
are taller than their more settled counterparts within the same community; this may
result from dietary supplements given to settled children in mission schools (Little
2002:166).
70
Closer to our study area are investigations of the Evenki reindeer hunters of
the circumpolar northern Siberia. Evenki males and females derive about 30% of
their daily energy from animal foods (the reindeer and other wild game) (Leonard et
al. 2002:213-214). Such protein intakes are high, with an average of about 2.1g of
protein per kilogram of body weight, which is about 2.5 times the 0.8g/kg minimum
requirements recommended by FAO/WHO/UNU (1985). There is a significant agerelated increase in dietary protein, with 13% as the proportion of energy derived
from protein in young males (16-18 years), while it is over 19% for males over 40
years old. This age-related trend for protein intake is not found in females, but
women do show significant age-related increase in energy derived from fat. This
trend in fat intake is not found in men and may be related to reproductive needs in
adult females (e.g., Stini 1985).
Bioarchaeological Correlations and Implications
One of the key assumptions of the models of Chinese–frontier interaction
described in the previous chapter is that the insufficiencies of the pastoral diet
created a demand for agricultural foods. Another assumption is that this need led to
violent confrontations to procure these goods. Such assumptions can be tested with
biological correlates seen in changes to diet and health, and in evidence of injury.
Dietary Reconstruction
Isotopic studies of bone collagen provide a direct approach to assessing the
extent that different pastoralist groups were dependent on cultigens (Schoeninger
71
1995; Schwarcz et al. 1985). Stable isotopic analysis as a method for reconstructing
prehistoric human and faunal diets has hugely impacted palaeodietary
reconstructions in the past 25 years. Studies have shown that stable isotopes of
carbon and nitrogen in animal tissues reflect the animal’s diet (DeNiro and Epstein
1978, 1981). Values of 13C/12C in human bone collagen have been used to
determine the relative proportion of C3 and C4 plants in an individual’s diet
(Katzenberg et al. 1995; Schwarcz et al. 1985; van der Merwe and Vogel 1978).
Differences in carbon isotope fractionation between the two photosynthetic
pathways (C3 and C4) discriminate against the heavier 13C, which makes it possible
to trace the introduction of maize (C4 plant) into human diet in the New World.
Likewise, millet is a C4 plant with isotopic signatures similar to maize.
Millet is a tropical grass that follows the C4 photosynthetic pathway and has
a high δ13C value (the standardized ratio of 13C/12C) in bone. Stable isotopic studies
of skeletal remains from northern China suggest that the proportion of dietary
protein coming from millet increased markedly during the transition from the
broad-spectrum diet of the Neolithic Yangshao culture that included millet and
animal products, to the agricultural intensification of the chiefdom-level Longshan
culture (Cai and Qiu 1984). Isotopic studies thus provide a way to study how
pastoralist dependence on agriculturalists varied through time.
During the Neolithic, millet was a major cultigen in the Yellow River valley,
with δ13C values in previous studies indicating that millet contributed the majority
(50-80%) of the dietary carbon in these communities (Schwarcz and Schoeninger
72
1991; van der Merwe 1992). Millet dominated the region for thousands of years as
suggested by the 13C contents in skeletons dating from 5000 – 500 BC. These
collagen values become increasingly negative in later periods, indicating that the
Chinese shifted from a C4 (millet-based) diet to a C3 diet of rice and wheat (van der
Merwe 1992). This transition occurs throughout the Warring States period to the
Han Dynasty (5th century BC to the 2nd century AD). During this period the Chinese
states were unified into an empire and had irrigation systems that supported a
variety of crops (Chang 1983).
Studies of dental disease such as tooth decay and tooth loss provide another
measure of dependence on plant carbohydrates. Dental caries is a disease process
caused by organic acids produced by bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates, which
leads to local demineralization of dental hard tissues in affected areas (Larsen
1997). Dental caries and associated antemortem tooth loss increase significantly
with the shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture owing to the cariogenic
effects of high-carbohydrate cultigens (Cohen and Armelagos 1984; Hillson 1979;
Walker 1986a). Caries rates among pastoralists with diets high in animal protein, in
contrast, tend to be low (Walker and Yablonski 1997). It has been shown that a diet
composed of protein, fat, and calcium was associated with low rates of cavities in
laboratory rats (Mundorff-Shrestha et al. 1994). Dental caries and the oral health
problems associated with tooth decay are thus likely to increase among pastoralists
if their consumption of cultigens increased.
73
Another index of diet is osteoarthritis of the temporomandibular joint
(TMJ). This joint is subject to mechanical loading forces, and since diet influences
masticatory forces, dietary habits ultimately affect areas associated with chewing,
namely the shape of the face and head. Carlson and Van Gerven (1977; 1979) have
posited a “masticatory-functional hypothesis” to explain craniofacial changes in
Nubian populations who had reduced facial robusticity and other morphological
changes compared to earlier populations after a shift in subsistence.
They propose that the shift from foraging to agriculture and incorporation of
softer foods led to these craniofacial changes. Studies of other populations that
shifted in subsistence show a similar response to change in diet and food
preparation (e.g., Larsen 1982). Research has also explored the possible association
between degenerative changes in the TMJ with tooth loss and attrition, as well as
with age and sex. While studies have shown no significant correlation to age, results
are mixed as to correlation with tooth loss and attrition (Hodges 1991; Sheridan et
al. 1991). Nonetheless, osteoarthritis of TMJ does seem a good indicator of shift in
subsistence and food preparation techniques.
Health Status
Differences in the living conditions of nomadic pastoralists and
agriculturalists have important health-related implications. The economic shift to
intensive agriculture is typically associated with decreased spatial mobility,
increased population densities, decreased dietary diversity, and increased
carbohydrate consumption. All of these factors act synergistically to produce a
74
decline in health (Cohen and Armelagos 1984). Pastoralists, in contrast, tend to be
relatively healthy owing to their spatial mobility, low population density, low
disease load, and a rich, high-protein diet (Crawford and Leonard 2002; Prince and
Steckel 2003). The health of Inner Asian pastoralists is thus likely to have declined
as they had increased access to agricultural products, especially for those in close
proximity to China who shifted to sedentary life.
A variety of skeletal health indices were recorded to document the health
consequences of the shift from nomadic pastoralism to increased agricultural
dependence. Long bone dimensions are useful health indicators of growth and
development because nutritional inadequacy, disease, and other unfavorable
environmental conditions prevent people from attaining their full growth potential
(Bogin 1999; Goodman 1991; Steckel 1995; Stini 1969). For example, presumably
because of increases in disease-load and malnutrition, stature reduction typically
accompanies the shift from foraging to agricultural subsistence (e.g., Larsen 1982).
Thus, the stature of the nomads who are the focus of this study is likely to have
decreased as they increased their intake of cultigens and their spatial mobility
decreased.
Moreover, a study of a series of time-successive populations of ancient
Egypt has shown that there are significant differences in long bone dimensions
between the earlier semi-pastoral population and the later intensive population,
especially within males (Zakrzewski 2003). The author attributes these findings to
nutritional changes and to the increase in social complexity, with concomitant
75
differential access to resources by males. Thus, as nomadic pastoral societies came
under imperial control and shifted subsistence practices, sexual dimorphism in adult
height among populations may also have been affected by changing social
organization and preferential treatment for males.
Varied health problems with a host of possible causes including malnutrition
and disease and synergistic reactions between them may leave skeletal and dental
imprints known as non-specific stress indicators. Nutritional problems associated
with anemia can be caused not only by dietary nutritional deficiencies and genetic
disorders, but also by nutrient losses associated with diarrheal disease and high
parasite loads (Stuart-Macadam 1992; Walker 1985, 1986b). In the cranium, these
may manifest in the form of porotic hyperostosis (cranial vault porosities) and
cribra orbitalia (orbital roof porosities), which appear to share a common etiology
as they often occur together (Stuart-Macadam 1989). These lesions occur as a
response to the loss of red blood cells, which is especially detrimental to children as
they do not have the same capacity to cope with this loss as do adults; hence, there
is a greater likelihood of these lesions in immature individuals. The frequency of
these conditions within a population tends to increase as living conditions decline.
They are especially prevalent among sedentary agriculturalists with nutritionally
deficient diets dominated by a single cultigen, such as millet (Larsen 1997:281).
Dental studies provide additional evidence concerning stress associated with
increased interaction between nomadic pastoralists and agriculturalists. Enamel
hypoplasia is a deficiency in enamel thickness resulting from stress that disrupts
76
tooth formation. The frequency of hypoplastic lesions thus provides a useful index
of childhood growth disturbance (Goodman and Rose 1990). Studies in eastern
North America, south Asia, the Near East, and South America have shown that
foraging populations shifting to agriculture or agricultural intensification
experienced increases in rates of these enamel defects (Larsen 1995). Similar
changes might be expected among pastoralists of the Inner Asian frontier as they
incorporated greater amounts of agricultural food products into their diet.
The frequency of osteoperiostitis provides another useful health index. This
condition is the apposition of new bone on cortical surfaces, usually in response to
bacterial infection or trauma. Osteoperiostitis also may be caused by a variety of
other insults and often is rampant in people with nutritional deficiency diseases such
as scurvy (Ortner 2003). Osteoperiostitis tends to increase in populations
undergoing agricultural transition (Goodman et al. 1984) as well as other forms of
economic intensification associated with increased sedentism and population
densities (Lambert and Walker 1991). In the current study, densely populated
sedentary populations are expected to display increased prevalence of
osteoperiostitis as compared to frontier nomadic populations with low population
densities.
Activity Patterns and Interpersonal Violence
Studies of traumatic injuries and degenerative joint disease offer direct
evidence concerning activity pattern differences associated with different degrees of
dependence upon pastoralism and farming. These data also provide direct evidence
77
of the extent to which warfare and violence structured pastoralist–agriculturalist
social relations. Data collected to address these issues include observations of
osteoarthritis, fracture patterns, and weapon wounds.
Osteoarthritis is commonly associated with chronic, mechanical stress on
synovial joints arising from habitual physical activities. Its pattern within the
skeleton can thus provide information on a group’s subsistence activities (Capasso
et al. 1999; Walker and Hollimon 1989). For example, Reinhard and coworkers
(1994) found that the equestrian lifestyle of the Omaha and Ponca from Nebraska
caused distinctive patterns of osteoarthritis in the vertebral and hip elements,
usually of males, who were likely more habitual riders, while Hamilton (1982)
noted distinctive joint changes in the arms of an agricultural sample compared to an
earlier foraging sample. Thus, the patterns of joint trauma and osteoarthritis are
expected to differ significantly between agricultural and pastoral populations, and
perhaps between the sexes depending on sexual division of labor.
Traumatic injuries, whether accidental or the result of interpersonal
violence, can also provide insight into risks associated with certain physical
environments and activities (e.g., Lambert 1997; Lambert 2002; Walker 1989,
1997, 2001). Agriculturalists generally show low prevalence of traumatic injuries
(Larsen 1997), and there has been an overall decrease in the frequency of fractures
with increasing sedentism and the shift to agriculture (Steinbock 1976). The
equestrian lifestyle of Inner Asian pastoralists, in contrast, is expected to result in
comparatively high frequencies of fractures and dislocations associated with riding
78
injuries and the dangers of dealing with livestock. Skeletal injuries such as
embedded projectile points, cutmarks, and certain types of cranial injures also offer
direct evident of interpersonal violence (Ortner 2003). Data on the prevalence of
such indicators of violence provide important information on the role of warfare and
raiding in the negotiation of pastoralist–agriculturalist social relations.
Hypotheses and Expectations
The samples considered here derive from a broad temporal and geographic
sample series. As such, there may be differences in skeletal observations of
paleopathology and diet that are a result of these disparities in historical
circumstances and geographic location. These include potential differences owing
to 1) genetic variability and local adaptation, 2) subsistence mode, and 3) the level
of imperial influence. To explore issues of frontier interaction over time, potential
differences among groups arising from each of these three conditions must be
examined separately and concurrently, as these processes affecting the population
are by no means mutually exclusive. The data are thus pooled for comparisons by
regional location, by subsistence mode, and by level of imperial influence (which
includes consideration of time period and geographic proximity of the frontier to
China). In each stage of the hypothesis testing I examine the significance of
differences between adults and juveniles and between male and females, to identify
the age and sex-related differences in health.
79
Regional Differences
The samples in the study derive from sites that are broadly distributed along
the northern frontier (see Figure 2.1). Sites cluster in three regions: Xinjiang to the
northwest, Inner Mongolia to the north-central, and Manchuria to the northeast.
Historically, inhabitants of Xinjiang have close connections with populations from
Central Asia, while tribes in Inner Mongolia shared ties with tribes occupying
Mongolia. Manchuria was home to nomads migrating from Mongolia as well as
local populations and northern Chinese sedentary communities.
I have categorized samples into three regional groupings: North-western
(sites located in Xinjiang), North-central (those in modern day Inner Mongolia), and
North-eastern (single site in Manchuria). The formulation of these categories are
based not only on geographical location of the sites along the frontier relative to
China, but also on archaeological reports on the background of the sites (see
Chapter 5) and discussions with Chinese researchers who have studied the
migration and “racial” or ethnic identity of the samples. It is problematic to
categorize many of these collections based on biological affinity since these are
broad groupings that include possible admixture within the samples, especially if
they derive from zones of interaction.
The vast regional and ecological diversity encompassed by these three areas
may have resulted in isolation by distance and genetic adaptation to local
environments. That is, some populations (gene pools) may have higher frequencies
of certain traits owing to evolutionary processes such as natural selection, gene
80
flow, and genetic drift. As a result, there may be a genetic component to some
differences observed among regional populations. The possible significance of such
regional differences is explored in conjunction with the analysis of the biological
responses to socioeconomic changes that are central to this study.
Differences identified through comparisons of these pooled regional groups
may conceivably be explained by genetic differences between populations. The null
hypothesis is that there are no significant genetic differences and that local genetic
adaptations within each area did not influence the expression of traits. In that case,
North-western, North-central, and North-eastern samples are expected to be similar
in the phenotypic expression of traits, including susceptibility to certain
pathological conditions. The alternate hypothesis is that differences resulting from
regional local adaptations and genetic isolation will manifest themselves in the
expression of some morphological traits studied. In that case, North-western, Northcentral, and North-eastern samples will show differences in the frequency of
expressed traits. Such differences may especially be seen in comparison of adult
height, a trait whose variability is strongly influenced by both genetics and
environmental conditions (Terrenato and Ulizzi 1983).
Subsistence Mode
One of the main questions addressed in this investigation of frontier
interaction is the impact of differences in subsistence mode, which, in this study,
largely corresponds with geographical location. Those populations in the Xinjiang
region practiced nomadic pastoralism, as did those to the east in Inner Mongolia and
81
Manchuria. However, Manchuria was suitable for a variety of economies and had
populations that practiced agropastoralism as well as agriculture. The expectation is
that mode of economy greatly impacted diet, health, and skeletal indicators of
activity and trauma. The underlying hypotheses that state control and subsistence
mode were key factors that greatly impacted frontier populations is addressed with
the following hypotheses and expectations.
Comparing Nomadic Pastoral and Agricultural Indicators of Diet, Health, and
Activity
Data were collected from early period collections including the Neolithic
and the Bronze Age to determine the baseline dietary and health status of each
group prior to the increased socioeconomic interaction associated with the rise of
the Chinese empire. This analysis focuses on establishing the magnitude of the
differences in health and diet that existed within and between populations of
agriculturalists, nomadic pastoralists, and people with a mixed economy 2 .
Hypothesis 1: The subsistence practices of pastoral nomads and sedentary
agriculturalists will result in observable differences in diet, health, and
activity patterns.
Expectation 1a – diet: Agriculturalists with carbohydrate-rich diets are
expected to have higher frequencies of carious lesions and associated
antemortem tooth loss, but lower rates of TMJ disease from their diet of
softer processed foods than pastoralists.
2
Agropastoral people are expected to display results intermediate between that of agriculturalists
and pastoralists in diet, health, and activity.
82
Expectation 1b – health: Nomadic pastoral populations, whose mobility and
high-protein diets are expected to result in lower disease loads, should
display lower frequencies of pathological conditions than sedentary
agriculturalists who had protein-poor diets That is, pastoral populations
should have lower rates of porotic hyperostosis, cribra orbitalia, enamel
hypoplasia, and osteoperiostitis, while also greater stature from better
overall health.
Expectation 1c – activity: Differences in activities (e.g., horse riding versus
agricultural fieldwork) can be observed in patterns of degenerative joint
disease. Close association with large animals such as horses should also lead
to higher rates of fractures in nomadic pastoralists than in sedentary
populations.
Level of Imperial Influence: Time Period and Geographic Distance
In consideration of dynamic sociopolitical processes, samples are also dealt
with in terms of imperial influence in the northern steppe frontier, from the preimperial age to later imperial periods. For instance, with samples from the “Preimperial” period, the Neolithic sample did not experience state control, whereas
powerful states emerged in China during the Bronze Age so samples from this
period may have had some interactions with China. In the “Early Imperial” period,
which coincides with the Iron Age, the Chinese empire began to extend its borders
and increasingly came into conflict with nomadic populations to the north, where
tribal confederacies also emerged. Finally, another large subset of samples derives
83
from the period of the Mongolian empire (Yuan Dynasty in China, AD 1279 –
1368), which may be considered part of the “Middle Imperial” period in China,
since imperial governance had existed for over a millennium. Furthermore, not only
does the level of imperial control depend on the time period under consideration,
but also geographic distance to the Chinese core. Thus, two frontier zones are
considered: 1) the “Inner” zone located in Inner Mongolia and Manchuria where
borders were fluid and control shifted between nomads and China, and 2) the
“Outer” zone which comprises those samples derived from the northwest, in
Xinjiang province.
Testing the “Needy” Theory – Did Pastoralists Rely on an Agricultural Diet?
The next stage of research evaluates health data to explore the nature and
mode of interregional interaction. First, I assess the extent to which pastoralists may
have “relied” upon Chinese agricultural goods during the different periods of
imperial control, and depending on proximity to China. An increased dependence
on low-protein agricultural products has clear bioarchaeological implications.
Populations undergoing such a shift would likely show a general decline in health
owing to a less nutritious diet and a loss of mobility, which in turn is associated
with living conditions that promote the spread of disease (Larsen 1995).
Hypothesis 2: The nature of interaction between nomadic pastoralists and
China was primarily focused on nomadic access to agricultural products,
and access to agricultural goods was a function of distance to China.
84
Expectation 2a – temporal consideration: Nomads are proposed to have
coveted Chinese goods. Over time they increased their access to the
agricultural cultigens as Chinese imperial influence increased. As a result,
their health status should decline owing to the negative health consequences
of increased carbohydrate consumption. A decline in overall health from
early to late period samples is expected, including increased frequencies of
dental caries, antemortem tooth loss, enamel hypoplasia, porotic
hyperostosis, cribra orbitalia, and decreased stature, as well as observation
of osteoarthritic patterns similar to agricultural samples.
Expectation 2b – geographical consideration: Nomads in closer proximity to
China during Early Imperial and Middle Imperial periods had increased
imperial influence and hence, access to agricultural goods and sedentary
lifestyles. So a decline in overall health is expected for samples in the
imperial age Inner zone as compared to pastoral populations in the Outer
zone. The Inner zone samples are expected to share similar trends in
indicators of nutrition, health, and activity stress with the agrarian
populations.
Determining the Mode of Interaction: Violent or Not?
Another assumption tested is the extent to which imperial–frontier economic
relations involved warfare or less violent exchanges such as trade. If conflict was
common, burials, particularly of males, may show frequent signs of interpersonal
violence (Walker 2001). It is argued that the shift from violent interactions through
85
raiding to more stable trade relations would be concomitant with increased graindependence of pastoralist populations (Barfield 1989; Di Cosmo 1994; Khazanov
2001). I thus expect evidence of violent conflict among pastoralists to decrease with
evidence of increased agricultural dependence.
Hypothesis 3: Pastoralists had violent relations with China to gain access to
Chinese goods, especially those who occupied lands near China; however,
those pastoral groups who were under imperial influence had decreased
levels of interpersonal violence as their relationship to the China became
more stable.
Expectation 3a – temporal consideration: Frequencies of interpersonal
violence will be higher in earlier pre-imperial pastoral samples when
compared to later, imperial age samples. These frequencies will be higher in
male than female samples, as males are typically the people most directly
involved in warfare.
Expectation 3b – geographical consideration: Those populations that were
geographically closer to the border with the Chinese polities experienced
more violent conflict. In this study, these would be the Inner zone samples
located in the north-eastern region near the Great Wall, as opposed to the
north-western Outer zone samples from Xinjiang.
86
Conclusion
An underlying difference between ancient peoples of the frontier and China
was subsistence mode. Bioarchaeological data provide a means to explore questions
of interregional interaction between China and the steppe frontier over periods of
increases in social complexity and economic changes. These data on the lives of
nomadic people living at the periphery and outer frontier relative to the Chinese
polity provide a new perspective into the health consequences of long-term
interactions from populations who experienced imperial influence at different
scales. This chapter has outlined the health, diet, and activity correlates of
subsistence mode and associated social organization. This chapter has also provided
the hypotheses and expectations that will be the focus of analysis and discussion in
Chapters 7 – 9. The following two chapters provide information on the samples
(Chapter 5: Materials) and data collection techniques (Chapter 6: Methods).
87
Chapter 5: Materials
To address the questions posed by the hypotheses, I collected data from
temporally and geographically diverse samples. The humans remains studied are
stored for research at Jilin University in the city of Changchun, capital of Jilin
province in the People’s Republic of China. There are 11 sites, with a total of 979
individuals analyzed (Table 5.1). In trying to determine a “natural” way to order the
sites for description below, grouping sites based on geographic location and
chronological order was determined to be most useful, as this order roughly
corresponds to different modes of subsistence. Included in each site description is
information about the chronological and historical context, ecological conditions,
and culture history. Note that although the descriptions list sites in broad territories
such as Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, and Xinjiang (Figure 5.1), political boundaries
constantly shifted during the periods under consideration and the borders of these
areas are modern permutations.
88
Table 5.1. Total sample (N=979) used in study, categorized by economic mode,
with sites presented in chronological order according to economic grouping.
Site
Site ID
Territory
Time (BP)
Economy
N
Dunmaili
ED
Xinjiang
4000-3000 Nom.pastoral
4
Hami
HTB
Xinjiang
3800-3300 Nom.pastoral
86
Heigouliang BYJH
Xinjiang
2500
Nom.pastoral
82
Jinggouzi
LJ
Inner Mongolia 2600-2300 Nom.pastoral
125
Nileke
YNQ
Xinjiang
2500
Nom.pastoral
48
Yanghai
SAY
Xinjiang
2450-1750 Nom.pastoral
85
Lamadong
BL
Manchuria
1650-1550 Agropastoral
492
Chengbozi
SJC Inner Mongolia
850-600
Agriculture
16
Miaozigou
QM Inner Mongolia 6000-5000
Agriculture
14
Sanmian
BWS Inner Mongolia
700-600
Agriculture
7
Zhenzishan
DZX Inner Mongolia
700-600
Agriculture
19
Figure 5.1. Map of sites in study
In addition to mode of economy, I have also sorted data according to time
period, which is indicative of the level of imperial influence from China, as well as
89
according to the relative geographic proximity to that influence. A further
consideration is the regional “biological” influence from local adaptation, so I have
also categorized samples by regional location (Table 5.2).
Table 5.2. Samples sorted by consideration of research questions
Imperial
Site
Zone
Influence
Age/Dynasty
Region
NorthMiaozigou
N/A
Pre-imperial
Neolithic
eastern
Outer
NorthDunmaili
frontier Pre-imperial
Bronze
western
Outer
NorthHami
frontier Pre-imperial
Bronze
western
Outer
NorthHeigouliang frontier Early Imperial
Early Iron
western
Outer
NorthNileke
frontier Early Imperial
Early Iron
western
Outer
Warring
NorthYanghai
frontier Early Imperial States/Han
western
Inner
NorthJinggouzi
frontier Early Imperial Late Bronze
central
Inner
San Yan/
NorthLamadong frontier Early Imperial
WeiJin
eastern
Inner
Middle
NorthChengbozi frontier
Imperial
Jin/Yuan
central
Inner
Middle
NorthSanmian
frontier
Imperial
Yuan
central
Economy
Agriculture
Pastoral
Pastoral
Pastoral
Pastoral
Pastoral
Pastoral
Agropastoral
Agriculture
Agriculture
Sampling Issues
Storage
I examined all collections except for that of one site, Linxi Jinggouzi, at the
Research Center for Frontier Archaeology at Jilin University during 2004-2005. I
initially analyzed a portion of the remains from Linxi Jinggouzi in 2003 at the Inner
90
Mongolia Research Center of Jilin University in the city of Chifeng, Inner
Mongolia. These remains from the 2003 season had been excavated just prior to my
analysis, and subsequently were transported back to Jilin University, which also
held material from a 2002 excavation. During 2004-2005, I had the opportunity to
re-examine the remains from the 2003 excavation, as well as the remains from the
2002 excavation of the same cemetery site.
The remains that have been processed for research and curation are
generally separated with skulls and postcranial elements stored in different
collection rooms. The postcranial elements retained in these collections tend to be
the more sturdy elements such as the long bones, as well as those that provide the
most information for age and sex of the deceased, such as pelvic bones.
Occasionally, if collections or a portion thereof had not been previously examined
by other researchers, then cranial and associated postcranial elements were boxed
together. Generally, these individuals had a more complete inventory, including
axial elements.
Burial Treatment
The fact that several individuals within a given collection had the same
burial number, occasionally demarcated with alphabetical ordering (e.g., M1:A,
M1:B, etc., where “M” is the abbreviation for mu, the Chinese word for tomb)
indicates that several individuals had been buried together in the same tomb. Since
the Neolithic period, there has been evidence of the use of extended family or
lineage graves and the association of cemetery organization along kinship affiliation
91
(Qiang and Yun 1993), so those burials spatially clustered together may be those of
family members (Liu 1996b). Even in modern times villages often will contain
members of extended families, many sharing the same surname (Wolf and Huang
1980). Unfortunately, the lack of detailed archaeological documentation for the
majority of the burials makes determination of familial relationships among burials
uncertain.
Several of these collections were also used for teaching purposes by the
University, so some had been studied previously and marked with writing
implements, though these usually did not obscure pathological conditions or other
features. Some bones had their burial numbers written on the surface. In a few
instances, burial numbers were followed by the characters, wang or fu, suggesting
wealthy or elite individuals, or the burial of these individuals in wealthy tombs, but
the general lack of corresponding information regarding the grave goods and burial
treatment associated with individual burials hindered attempts to substantiate burial
status of these individuals.
Sampling Problems
I analyzed a total of 979 individuals in this study, although I had examined
over 1000 individuals. Those that were too poorly preserved for observation of
diagnostic features, pathological markers or measurement were not included in the
analysis. Most collections were limited to cranial remains and when postcranial
elements were collected, these usually consisted of the large long bones such as the
femur or other limb bones. Thus much information from the axial skeleton and
92
smaller bones has been potentially lost. Moreover it is unclear whether burials
sampled constitute the whole population or a representative cross-section of the
total population. Despite these limitations, many burials within the collection were
relatively complete, and what was present offered a wealth of information on many
traits under consideration.
Previous Research on Affiliation
Scholars have performed studies of the biological affiliations of several of
these collections. For example, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis of samples
in this study include testing of the Chengbozi (SJC) site of Inner Mongolia from the
Middle Imperial period (Fu et al. 2007). Further, a recent study showing the
similarity between ancient DNA (from a 2,300 year old Xiongnu population) with
modern North Asian 1 populations indicate at least 2,400 years of genetic continuity
between North Asians from different periods and geographic locations (KeyserTracqui et al. 2006). This suggests that all Inner Mongolian collections I studied are
sampled from a relatively genetically homogenous population.
Cultural evidence also provides clues to the biological affinities of most of
the samples in this study. For example, archaeological material associated with the
Inner Mongolian Jinggouzi site suggests that they are descendents of the “Eastern
Hu,” a “North Asian” people from Mongolia (Wang 2004; Wang et al. 2005; Zhu
2002; Zhu 2005). While textual evidence and cultural material found in association
1
Classified as “North-central” in this study.
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with Middle Imperial graves in Chinese territories clarify the biological affinity of
those sites, those of nomadic pastoralists without written evidence (such as those
from Xinjiang and Mongolia) are less straightforward and determination of their
biological affinity has relied on craniometric studies and excavated material culture.
Site reports, if they are available, often provide limited contextual
information. They usually include information about the excavation and speculation
on the possible historical association of the site with information on
contemporaneous local cultures in ancient times. A short artifact summary is
occasionally included. Any detailed inventory is often limited to descriptions of
expensive prestige goods or artifacts of an unusual nature. In cases where
contextual evidence of the burial population was scanty, I only present what was
known and relevant to this study here.
Nomadic Pastoral Samples
The collections that are comprised of nomadic pastoral populations are
subdivided into two time periods, the Bronze Age and Iron Age. This separation is
useful for later analysis as the level of imperial influence from China differs
markedly between these two chronological stages. During the Bronze Age, the
territory that would form the core of China had not unified as an empire, but was
ruled by kings in smaller states, while by the Iron Age, China was under imperial
governance. Note that only one nomadic pastoral site is located outside of Xinjiang
(Figure 5.2), the Linxi Jinggouzi site of Inner Mongolia to the east (Figure 5.3).
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Figure 5.2. Map of sites in Xinjiang province, the North-western frontier
Figure 5.3. Map of sites in Inner Mongolia and Manchuria in the North-central and
North-eastern frontier respectively
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Bronze Age Sites: ED, HTB, LJ
Site: Dunmaili (ED)
Time: Bronze Age (possibly early Iron Age)
Region: Xinjiang
Latitude/Longitude: 43.90N, 81.20E
There is little information available about the background and the
provenience of this collection. Records from the inventory of Jilin University’s
collection indicate that the material is dated to the Bronze Age, possibly Iron Age.
Excavations were conducted in Xinjiang in 2000 and the site was located in the
village of Dunmaili (ED).
I have placed this sample in the “North-western” regional grouping. The
bones were in a relatively good state of preservation. I examined four individuals,
all adult: one male and three females.
Site: Hami (HTB)
Time: 1800 – 1200 BC
Region: Xinjiang
Latitude/Longitude: 42.80N, 93.45E
This site is located in the city of Hami at the site of Tianshan Beilu (HTB).
A brief report on excavations conducted from 1988-1997 describes 13 burials out of
the 700 tombs excavated (Wang et al. 2003). The funerary objects, mostly bronze,
stone, bone, and decorative items, share similarities to styles found in societies to
the east in Gansu province, in particular the Siba and Qijia Cultures. Researchers
have hypothesized that perhaps people from those cultures fled to this area,
explaining the apparent cultural similarities with inhabitants of this site.
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The authors of the report suggest that the majority of these individuals
(10/13) are Mongolian in cranial morphology, and the remaining individuals are
European in features (3/13). Note however, that only 13 burials were examined for
“racial” grouping by these authors, and the results suggest the community was
multi-ethnic. Another study using cluster analysis and principal components
analysis of skeletal finds from a nearby site in the site of Wubao, Hami also suggest
heterogeneity in the local population (He and Xu 2002). They analyzed burials from
over 100 individuals from this 4th – 10th century BC site and compared them to
other Central Asian and Mongolian samples and found that the majority had
“Caucasian-type” features.
I have placed the HTB population in the “North-western” regional
population grouping. Preservation of the material was good. I examined 86
individuals from this collection: 15 juveniles and 71 adults.
Site: Linxi Jinggouzi (LJ)
Time: 650 – 350 BC
Region: Inner Mongolia
Latitude/Longitude: 42.27N, 118.96E
This late Bronze Age site is located in the county and village of Linxi
Jinggouzi (LJ) in the modern city of Chifeng, Inner Mongolia. A cemetery
collection of 59 tombs was excavated in 2002 and 2003 by archaeologist Wang
Lixin and colleagues. There was evidence of much grave disturbance in the tombs
(several of which held multiple individuals, often adults with children), likely from
ancient looting (Zhang 2005). Otherwise, preservation of bones was relatively fair.
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In the 31 tombs from the 2002 excavation, grave goods included numerous
instances of animal bones (found in 25/28 tombs, likely sacrificial) and items
associated with animal husbandry and horse riding, but none directly associated
with agriculture (Wang et al. 2005). There were six kinds of animals in the
cemetery burials, all of them domesticated forms: horse (37.3%), cow (23.5%), goat
(25.5%), donkey (7.8%), mules (3.7%), and dogs (2%). There were also bones of
wild animals like deer, fox, clams, and freshwater snails, likely from the nearby
Xilamulun River. Other items included numerous pieces of pottery, items made of
bone, bronze, and shell. Also of note is the large collection of weapons made of
bronze and bone among the funerary objects (see Appendix, Figure A5.1). One
young male was buried with 26 bone arrowheads, bone daggers, and a short bronze
sword. These implements give an indication of the potential for violence within this
population, which occupied lands near Chinese borders.
The grave good assemblage has led Wang and colleagues to propose that
these individuals are associated with, or descend from the Donghu (Eastern Tu)
culture, who were mentioned in ancient Chinese records as nomadic peoples in the
northeast (Wang 2004; Wang et al. 2005; Zhu 2005). In particular, Wang proposes
that these people were immigrants, who migrated slowly (over a period of several
decades) southward from Mongolia into the Inner Mongolian region, and mixed
with local farmers. Research in the Chifeng region suggests that environmental
change during the Bronze Age led to colder, drier conditions that precipitated the
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shift in economic strategies to increased reliance on pastoral nomadism (Linduff et
al. 2002; Shelach 1994).
These were the finds I examined initially in 2003 (that year’s excavation)
and again in 2004-2005, along with the material from the 2002 season. According
to geographical location and the research conducted on their cultural affiliation that
suggests origins in Mongolia, I have grouped them under “North-central.” Bone
preservation was fair, with some postmortem damage. I examined 125 individuals:
61 juveniles and 64 adults.
Iron Age Sites: BYJH, YNQ, SAY
Site: Heigouliang (BYJH)
Time: 1200 – 200 BC
Region: Xinjiang
Latitude/Longitude: 42.80N, 93.45E
This early Iron Age site is located at the site of Heigouliang (BYJH) in
Hami, Xinjiang. The site was discovered in the course of a highway project and
salvage excavations commenced in 1993 (Chang and Zhou 1994). Most of the
burials had been disturbed by either natural or cultural processes. The grave goods
found were not elaborate and consisted of iron implements associated with an
equestrian culture. Also found in the burials were bones from horses, goats, and
cows, which indicate that these people were animal herders. The date of these finds
range from the pre-imperial Shang/Zhou Dynasties to the Sui Dynasty 1000 years
later, but I have placed them in the Iron Age category since artifacts suggest the
burials are from this period.
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These individuals are placed in the “North-western” regional grouping. The
bones had not been examined prior to my analysis, but the material was relatively
well preserved. I examined 82 individuals from this collection: 12 juveniles and 70
adults.
Site: Nileke (YNQ)
Time: 500 – 221 BC
Region: Xinjiang
Latitude/Longitude: 43.78N, 82.40E
This site is located in site of Nileke (YNQ) near the Yiling River tributary
system in Xinjiang. There were 55 graves in two cemeteries, some with stone
coffins. As reported by Liu and Li (2002), the majority of the burials had their
heads toward the west, facing up, extended, and many were missing the distal
phalanges of the hand or toes, and some skulls had artificial holes. These features
suggest ritualistic activity that is apparently not seen elsewhere in this region or in
China (ibid.).
The grave items associated with the burials were not prestige goods, but
instead the typical accoutrements found in graves on non-elites, that is pottery and
knives, as well as some iron implements. Among the excavated artifacts were
sacrificial goat bones, colorful pottery, tools made of wood and iron, and one
copper tool.
The finds I examined, while very well preserved, unfortunately did not
include finger or toe bones for analysis. Most burials were represented by skulls and
limb bones. Based on material culture and geographical location, this collection
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falls in the “North-western” regional grouping. I examined 48 individuals, nine of
them juveniles and 39 adults.
Site: Yanghai (SAY)
Time: 475 BC – AD 220 (Warring States – Han Dynasty)
Region: Xinjiang
Latitude/Longitude: 42.87N, 90.17E
The Yanghai site (SAY) is located in the village of Xiacun in Shanshan
County, Xinjiang. In 2003 the Xinjiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology
and the Turpan Prefectural Bureau of Cultural Relics excavated 510 tombs in three
cemeteries. Funerary goods associated with the burials included pottery,
implements made of bronze, stone, bone, iron, antler, and shell, straw-woven and
leather objects, as well as woolen, silk, and cotton articles (Lu et al. 2004).
Bones were well enough preserved to indicate that whole burials would have
been recoverable, but my observations were limited to skulls and long bones. Most
bones had some textiles and body tissue still adhering, but this did not impede
observation of pathological conditions. I examined 85 individuals (32 juveniles and
53 adults), who fall in the “North-western” grouping.
Agropastoral Sample
Site: Beipiao Lamadong (BL)
Time: 337 – 441 AD (Weijin)
Region: Manchuria
Latitude/Longitude: 41.79N, 120.78E
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This large collection comes from the site of Lama Cave (BL) in Beipiao
city, Liaoning province (one province in Manchuria). The Liaoning Archaeology
Research Center began excavations of these tombs in 1993 as a large-scale effort to
study the Sixteen Kingdoms period (AD 304 – 439) when this area and much of
northern China was ruled by the ethnic pastoral group, the Xianbei (Zhang and Jiu
2000). The Xianbei originally occupied the steppes of Mongolia and around the 3rd
century moved to the northeast, where they became allies with the Han court against
other nomadic groups (Bai 1979). The Eastern Han court (latter half of the Han
Dynasty, AD 25–220) instituted a policy of mixed frontier settlements that
complicated the ethnic situation in the north (Hsu 1988). Thus, while the sample
population has biological affinity with nomadic pastoralists from the Mongolian
steppe, there are indications of genetic admixture with Han Chinese (Shan 2002).
The finds I examined derive mostly from the 1998 excavation, when 369
tombs and about 5000 cultural artifacts were unearthed (Zhongguo 1998). Artifacts
included decorative and utilitarian objects (gold, silver, copper, stone, bone, and
pottery) as well as iron, mainly in the form of weapons and farm tools such as
sickles and plows. While agricultural tools suggest adoption of Chinese farming
practices, other artifacts included numerous horse riding items (e.g., iron saddles)
and helmets. The horse riding helmet was the product of war for cavalrymen, and
the technique of manufacturing them improved with the intensification of war
during this politically fragmented period. These finds suggest a mixed economy that
has Han and pastoral influence, and the people seemed to have engaged in farming,
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animal husbandry, and military activities (Zhang and Jiu 2000). Of note is the fact
that the higher the rank of the tomb (as determined by quantity and quality of
goods), the larger the amount of weapons and tools of production which co-existed
together in the tomb.
I have classified these individuals as “North-eastern” as this site is located in
Manchuria. Moreover, while the rulers in this area were Xianbei, this sample is
apparently comprised mostly of local people from the northeast region (Zhang,
personal communication). Bone preservation was very good, although few remains
of immature individuals were available. I examined 493 individuals, 49 of them
juveniles, 444 adults.
Agricultural Samples
Neolithic Site: QM
Site: Miaozigou (QM)
Time: 3800 – 3000 BC
Region: Inner Mongolia
Latitude/Longitude: 40.78N, 113.20E
This site is located in the Qahar site in the village of Miaozigou (QM), Ural
Har eral, Inner Mongolia. There has been long continuous settlement in the area,
from the Neolithic Yangshao culture to the modern period. Excavations began in
1985 and owing to interruptions, did not complete until 1987 (Xu 2003). Findings
indicate an early sedentary farming community, with stone tools for farming
including axes, knives, shovels, and a large millstone, as well as pottery. Animal
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bones associated with the site include goats, horses, deer, wild oxen, horse,
antelope, wild hogs, dogs, foxes, raccoons, weasels, and some bird bones. Of these,
dog and pig bones dominated, suggesting they were domesticated. Shellfish from
the nearby water source was also discovered, and these were used as decorative
items as well as toys for children.
Study of morphological dental traits from suggests they share similarities
with northeast Asians such as later Shang Dynasty populations (Liu and Zhu 1995).
As Howells (1983) posited, by the Neolithic period (5000 BC or earlier), the
morphological features of people in North China had already acquired local
variation that is indistinguishable from modern Chinese. Thus, while this site is
located in Inner Mongolia, it is the southernmost site in that region and the people
of this site were settled farmers like those in North China. Accordingly, I have
grouped this sample in the “North-eastern” category. Preservation of the material
was good. I examined 14 individuals from this site: two juveniles and 12 adults.
Middle Imperial Period Sites: SJC, BWS, DZX
The following three sites all stem from agricultural populations during a
much more recent period than the other samples already discussed. They roughly
correspond to the time when China (and much of the Old World) was under the rule
of the Mongolian Empire forged by Ghengis Khan. In China, the great khans went
under the ruling name of the Yuan Dynasty, which may be considered the “Middle”
period of imperialism in China. Note that each of these sites contains some burials
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that had been cremated. This burial treatment is indicative of the Buddhist influence
in China, which popularized that form of burial (Wenwu 2001). I did not observe
any of these cremated remains.
Site: Chengbozi (SJC)
Time: AD 1125 – 1368 (Jin – Yuan dynasties)
Region: Inner Mongolia
Latitude/Longitude: 41.51N, 111.70E
The site of Chengbozi (SJC) is located in the town of Ulan Hua in the
Siziwang Banner of Inner Mongolia. There were 30 tombs, of which a third had
been looted and two were cremations in urns with a gold coin or two (Zhongguo
1995). Among the grave goods were pottery, gold earrings, wood combs, leather
objects, a few mirrors, and coins. Most burials had a leather pillow and had faces
covered. The style of the grave items and burial treatment suggests that this
population was of the Wanggu tribe (Wei 1997), who lived in the city of Chenbozi
during the Jin (1115 – 1234) and Yuan (1260 – 1368) dynasties (Gai 1991; Zhou
2001).
Analysis of mtDNA suggests that these individuals share similarities with
Siberian, East Asian, and European populations as well as genetic similarities to the
Uzbek and Uighur people (Fu et al. 2007). Based on the geographical location of
this site in Inner Mongolia, I placed these individuals under the regional grouping of
“North-central.” Bone preservation was relatively good. I examined 16 individuals:
three juveniles and 13 adults.
Site: Sanmian (BWS)
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Time: AD 1271 – 1368
Region: Inner Mongolia
Latitude/Longitude: 42.30N, 114.99E
The Sanmian tomb site (BWS) is located in Ulinbatosomu, Inner Mongolia.
In 2000, several research institutes (Inner Mongolia Autonomous region’s Institute
of Cultural Relics and Archaeology; Xiling Gol Mong Cultural Heritage
Department; Zheng Xiangbai Qi Cultural Heritage Department; and Xianghuang Qi
Cultural Heritage Department) excavated tombs from two banners (the White and
Yellow Banners) of Xiling Gol Mong in Inner Mongolia (Zhongguo 2000). There
were 10 tombs, dating to the Yuan Dynasty era. These tombs contained rectangular
wooden coffins that had valuable items including iron knives, a horse lamp, a
copper mirror, rings, and some items made of birch and leather. Another associated
tomb site, Ying Tu, had 20 tombs (but no artifacts) and several instances of
cremated remains.
The Sanmian individuals fall into the “North-central” grouping. Preservation
of the material available was good, though no juveniles were observed. I examined
seven individuals (all adult): three males and four females.
Site: Zhenzishan (DZX)
Time: AD 1271 – 1368
Region: Inner Mongolia
Latitude/Longitude: 42.19N, 116.48E
This cemetery is located in the Zhenzi hill (DZX) in Inner Mongolia, just
southeast of the former Upper capital of the Yuan Dynasty. During 1998-1999,
archaeologists excavated 49 tombs with 73 graves (Wenwu 2001). There were three
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styles of tombs, from brick chambered to stone slabs with a wooden coffin chamber
(which usually held the skeletal or cremated human remains), and finally earthen
shafts. The grave items were varied, with a large amount of porcelain and
decorative glazed pottery, as well as coins. This cemetery was in use for about 100
years, until the fall of the capital.
Along with artifacts that have Chinese writing, the inscriptions on the tombs
are Chinese, with information on the names of those interred, where they came
from, and dates of birth and death (Wenwu 2001). According to this information,
and the cultural attributes from burial treatment, these individuals are ethnic Han
Chinese and are grouped along with other sites from Inner Mongolia as “Northeastern.” These burials were well preserved. While several burials were unavailable
for analysis because they were in use as a teaching collection for Jilin University, I
examined 19 individuals from this site: one juvenile and 18 adults.
Conclusion
This chapter has described the excavation and contextual information for
each of the 11 skeletal collections under analysis. I grouped these data into different
categories depending on subsistence mode, time period (and associated level of
imperial influence), and regional location. These divisions aid in answering the
questions about mode of interregional interaction among different groups during
different periods in time. The following chapter provides information on the
methods for data collection to address these research questions.
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Chapter 6: Methods
The Bioarchaeological Approach
Over the past thirty years, Western researchers have made great advances in
bioarchaeological method and theory, emphasizing a multidisciplinary approach to
study the biocultural histories of earlier human populations. The bioarchaeological
approach incorporates information obtained from human remains with associated
archaeological, historical, ecological, and other related data to make comprehensive
reconstructions of health, behavior, and population history (Buzon et al. 2005). The
integrative use of independent data sources is an effective means to test alternative
hypotheses about human responses to the changing conditions of their natural and
sociocultural environments (Walker 1996).
The present investigation benefits from multiple lines of evidence in the
form of historical documentation from Chinese records and archaeological projects
that have yielded information about material culture and, more importantly for this
study, burials with human remains. Data from human skeletal remains provide
valuable information about the effects of biocultural processes on the body. I
collected data following standardized osteological procedures presented in
Standards for Data Collection from Human Skeletal Remains (Buikstra and
Ubelaker 1994) and those described in The Backbone of History (Steckel and Rose
2002), as well as outlined in the Global History of Health Project (Steckel et al.
2004), with a modified scoring system where appropriate. This chapter will detail
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the methods of data collection from skeletal remains in this study, including data
used to determine the minimum number of individuals, sex and age, dental health,
dietary information, body size, disease, and patterns of activity and trauma.
Working Conditions
At Jilin University’s Research Center for Frontier Archaeology, I examined
data from the 11 sites. As mentioned in the previous chapter, I initially examined
some of the 2003 recovered burials from one site, Linxi Jinggouzi, on-site at the
university’s Inner Mongolian Institute in Chifeng city after their excavation. This
initial observation of that small sample occurred under constrained conditions. That
is, there was limited lighting and time available for full analysis. However, these
remains were later transported to Jilin University for curation and I was able to reexamine them under the same conditions as all other material during 2004-2005.
At Jilin University I was allotted generous laboratory space and lighting for
photography. I was able to lay out bones fully on metal examination tables. The
level of curation of the material may be divided into two forms: 1) those that had
been examined by previous researchers were sorted with skulls in individual boxes
and long bones commingled with similar elements (such as all femora and all tibiae)
in plastic storage bins, or 2) bones of individuals that had not been processed were
wrapped in newspapers. In the former case, generally only the skull, pelvis, and
limb bones were curated, while in the latter, these included generally all bones
recovered from a burial, including smaller axial elements and more fragmentary
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remains. In addition, for skeletal material that had been previously researched, the
remains had been cleared of the soil matrix, and bones that had postmortem breaks
had been glued back together and in some instances teeth were secured in the dental
arcade with masking tape. For those that were unexamined prior to my observation,
these usually required some cleaning to be able to identify diagnostic features and
possible pathological conditions.
Following recommendations by Ubelaker (1989), bones with adhering
material that hindered observation were cleaned with brushes and wooden tools, and
water was applied if hard soil remained. Care was taken to ensure that there was no
further breakage of bones that appeared fragile. Where needed for metric data
collection (e.g., that of long bones), I used glue to join pieces damaged by
postmortem breaks. The glue was provided by the Research Center and was the
substance they regularly used on their skeletal material. Despite some postmortem
breakage and changes from taphonomic processes, the skeletal material from all
sites was otherwise relatively well-preserved.
Bioarchaeological analyses on skeletal collections were performed to obtain
demographic information as well as data on health status, diet, pathological
conditions, and evidence of trauma. I collected osteometric data following
standardized osteological procedures presented in Standards for Data Collection
from Human Skeletal Remains (Buikstra and Ubelaker 1994). My observations
included gross examination and use of loop magnification (16x/64D). I used
spreading and sliding Mitutoyo calipers to record metric data and I measured long
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bone lengths on a Paleo-TechTM Field Osteometric Board. I wore sterile surgical
gloves at all times to avoid any further contamination in the event that biochemical
tests were to be performed in the future.
On occasion, remains were so fragmentary, or few in number that no
analysis was performed other than to note element, and possibly age for a final
inventory. Digital photographs were taken of all pathological lesions for
documentation and future cross-checking. I recorded all data (inventory, age, sex,
and pathological conditions) in a Microsoft Access database, and the resulting
spreadsheet information was modeled after the Western Hemisphere Project
(Goodman and Martin 2002; Steckel et al. 2002). Most of the variables recorded
follow the recommendations of the European Workshops (Ferembach et al. 1977;
Workshop of European Anthropologists 1980) and Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994).
I collected all of the data under analysis to avoid inter-observer error, and
conducted intra-observer studies during the course of data collection by remeasuring and re-scoring a random subset of the sample. There was good
consistency in results, and digital photographic documentation also helped clarify
any inconclusive findings once I had access to more resources. With regards to age
and sex determination, previous studies of these collections conducted by Chinese
physical anthropologists also served as an independent check on my determinations.
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Minimum Number of Individuals
Determining the Minimum Number of Individuals (MNI) is crucial for
comparative analysis that depends on an accurate total number of individuals to
make counts and frequencies of particular observations. Establishing MNI was
made somewhat difficult by the fact that some burials were commingled. I
determined MNI following recommendations as per White (2000).
I laid out all elements associated with a burial and made a detailed inventory
of remains to help sort out commingled remains. The sorting of individuals was
accomplished through careful inventories of the number of elements per side and
observation of differences in the preservation and coloration of elements, as well as
differences in the probable age and sex of individual elements.
Most burials had been labeled with a burial number. For those burials that
contained commingled elements of more than one person, after sorting the MNI,
only those individuals that were associated with at least three elements (an arbitrary
number) from different parts of the body were counted as an individual, unless the
bone was particularly diagnostic for sex and/or age, such as an os coxa, cranium, or
a major long bone. I designated those elements that had no known association and
too few elements to age or sex in the “miscellaneous” or “isolate” category and did
not include them in the final MNI count.
Another potential problem in accurate collection of demographic data relates
to sampling. To address the problem of possible differential preservation or
sampling bias, there are multiple methods for age and sex determination described
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below that are useful in constructing a demographic profile that is an accurate
reflection of the burial population.
Age Determination
Age can be more precisely estimated for immature individuals than adults,
because skeletal and dental changes associated with growth and development are
well known and follow a similar timeline in all human populations. Age categories
can be most broadly divided into two categories, with individuals classified as
either a juvenile (younger than 18 years old) or an adult (18 years and older). This
broad categorization was useful because some burials had so few elements with
which to make age estimates that only a determination of “juvenile” or “adult” was
possible. In the majority of the burials, however, age could be more narrowly
determined into several groups. In the determination of the age of individuals, I
followed the age categories recommended in Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994), with
slight modifications on the age ranges (Table 6.1).
Table 6.1. Age categories used in this study, modified from Buikstra and Ubelaker
(1994)
Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994):
Age categories used in this study:
F
= Fetus (in utero – birth)
same
I
= Infant (birth – 3 years)
same
C = Child (4 – 11 years)
Child (3 – 12 years)
Ad = Adolescent (12 – 17 years)
Adolescent (12 – 20 years)
YA = Young Adult (18 – 34 years)
Young Adult (20 – 35 years)
MA = Middle Adult (35 – 45 years)
Middle Adult (35 – 50 years)
OA = Old Adult (46+ years)
Old Adult (50+ years)
A = Adult (18+ years) indeterminate age Adult (20+ years) indeterminate age
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I chose to modify the age ranges as described in Buikstra and Ubelaker
(1994) in regards to the Adolescent and Young Adult categories in order to include
the long bone measurements of young adult individuals whose epiphyses of arm and
leg elements had fully fused. These measurements provided additional information
for mean long bone length estimates of the samples.
The age estimation of juveniles, those individuals under the age of 18, was
based on dental development and tooth eruption (Moorees et al. 1963a, 1963b;
Smith 1991; Ubelaker 1989), epiphyseal union of postcranial elements (Bass 1995;
Steele and Bramblett 1988; White 2000), and long bone dimensions (Ubelaker,
1989). The development of teeth provides the most reliable age at death
determination in children (Saunders 1992). Where teeth and alveolar bone were
available for observation, dental information was the primary means to determine
the age of younger individuals. The rate of dental calcification and eruption was
compared to the dental Schour and Massler/Ubelaker Chart (Schour and Massler
1941; Ubelaker 1989:63). In the absence of teeth, assessment of the total pattern of
epiphyseal closure was used following the chart of the relationship of epiphyseal
union and fusion of ossification centers to chronological age found in the summary
Figure 20 of Standards for Data Collection from Human Skeletal Remains (Buikstra
and Ubelaker 1994:43).
If information from neither dental development nor union of epiphyses were
available, then I determined the age of immature remains using long bones. The
standards developed by Fazekas and Kośa (1978) for estimating fetal length and
114
corresponding age in lunar months from long bones were used to approximate the
age of infants under the age of one year. The lengths of older juvenile long bones
were compared against the long bone standards that Ubelaker (1989:69-71)
developed for the correlation between chronological age and maximum diaphyseal
length (without epiphyses). As he points out, these standards are best applied to the
Arikara or related Plains Indians on which the standards are derived, but they serve
as a general estimate for age at death for juveniles from other populations if
potential variability is accounted for. His standards thus served as a rough estimate
of subadult age, and I also compared the measures of juvenile long bones in this
study to those individuals who had been aged by teeth and/or epiphysis with long
bone measurements, generally within that sample population, and recorded an
estimated age range.
Age determination for adults was assessed in a hierarchical manner (in
descending order) following criteria recommended by the pubic symphysis scoring
systems developed by Brooks and Suchey (Brooks and Suchey 1990) and Todd
(1921a; 1921b), the auricular surface scoring system (Bedford et al. 1989; Meindl
and Lovejoy 1989), cranial suture closure (Meindl and Lovejoy 1985), and tooth
wear (Walker et al. 1991), with a modification of the Smith (1984) method. Each of
these methods has its own weakness, but when used together they provide greater
reliability of age estimation. For the youngest adults, observations were also made
of epiphyseal unions that are the latest to close, such as the medial clavicle, iliac
crest, vertebral rings, and sacral body fusion.
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Sex Determination
I determined the sex of adult individuals by scoring the sexually dimorphic
traits of the skull and pelvis as described in Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994). Sex
estimates were not made for pre-adolescent individuals, as they had not developed
secondary sex characteristics. Pelvic features used for sex estimates included the
subpubic region and the greater sciatic notch, while sexually dimorphic traits in the
skull included the nuchal crest, mastoid process, supra-orbital margin, glabella, and
mental eminence. When these skeletal elements were not present, I followed
recommendations from Human Osteology: A Laboratory and Field Manual (Bass
1995), including sex estimation based on relative post-cranial robusticity, such as
femoral head diameter and discriminating measurements taken on the tibia (Symes
and Jantz 1983), since at times one or both were the only diagnostic bone present
for sex determination. Whenever possible, all sexually diagnostic traits observable
were considered together for a final sex determination. When a burial did not have
sexually dimorphic elements or was that of a pre-pubescent person, then sex was
designated as “indeterminate.”
Health Data
Dental health data, nutritional and non-specific stress markers, and
indicators of trauma and/or activity were recorded following procedures outlined in
Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994), as well as those developed in the Western History
Project and further refined in the Global History of Health Project Data Codebook
116
for 2004 (Steckel et al. 2004). Stress indicators were scored based on the presence
or absence of the element in question, as well as the degree of expression. Metric
data on long bone measurements and on the dimensions of lesions were recorded to
the nearest millimeter.
Dental Health
I assessed dental health through the frequency of carious lesions and
antemortem tooth loss, which I recorded by tooth type and location. Carious lesions
were indicated by the presence of dark eroded regions and/or cavitations of tooth
enamel, as determined with a dental probe and strong light. Antemortem tooth loss
(AMTL) was identified based on the absence of teeth and the extent of alveolar
bone resorption. For both pathological conditions, my analysis used the frequency
of individuals affected with a lesion rather than the frequency of affected teeth
within an individual. For example, a person may have had five carious teeth, but I
used the count of one individual affected by cavities. I also made observations of
osteoarthritis of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) as a dietary indicator since the
mechanical forces produced by chewing influence the TMJ. I recorded the severity
of degenerative changes on any part of the joint (right and left sides of the
mandibular condyle and/or glenoid fossa).
Nutritional Status and Stress
Periods of stress during childhood owing to an inadequate diet and/or
disease may disrupt the formation of enamel (amelogenesis), leading to enamel
117
hypoplasia (EH). Enamel hypoplastic lesions were scored on the maxillary and
mandibular incisors, canines, and premolars. Lesions were identified by the
presence of a continuous linear horizontal groove that was deep enough to be
detected with the fingernail. While the counts of lesions were recorded for each
tooth, the final count for analysis was based on the presence or absence of a lesion
on any of the observed teeth per individual. As an example, a person may have had
lesions on two incisors and a canine, but a total of one person affected was recorded
(not the number of teeth affected) as the same event may have resulted in multiple
lesions.
Diseases associated with nutritional inadequacies as well as nutrient losses
may manifest as lesions on the cranium. I scored porotic hyperostosis (PH) and
cribra orbitalia (CO), on the posterior cranial vault and orbital roof respectively,
following a four-phase system for degree of expression ranging from indistinct
porosity to coalescing lesions with vault expansion. I noted healed and active
lesions based on the morphology of the lesions’ margin.
Osteoperiostitis, caused by inflammation of the periosteum surrounding the
bone, may be a symptom of bacterial infection, traumatic injury, or nutritional
deficiencies (Ortner 2003), and is thus considered a sign of non-specific infection. It
was identified by osseous plaques with defined margins or irregular elevations of
bone surfaces (Larsen 1997:83). Lesions located on any skeletal element were
recorded, along with information on severity and possible association with localized
trauma or systemic infection. Although I collected data on osteoperiostitis on
118
several bones, the tibia was the bone most often affected and thus analysis was
based on observation of bone inflammation in this long bone.
Growth assessment is often used for analysis of environmental stress,
including nutritional adequacy and disease during childhood (Bogin 1999). Body
size and stature estimates were determined by measurements I made of long bones,
following protocol in Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994). Measurements included those
of the humerus, femur, and tibia in adults, and various long bones in juveniles to aid
in determining their age. The femur has been shown to be the most reliable long
bone for any study on growth (Israelsohn 1960), and the maximum length of this
bone more closely correlates with stature than does that of any other bone
(Krogman and Iscan 1986). The humerus and tibia give additional information on
overall long bone dimensions. Measures were also used to investigate the degree of
sexual dimorphism between adult males and females.
For the examination of adult body size, I only used the measures from
complete long bones of adults. I selected the humerus, femur, and tibia as they were
the more frequently observed complete long bones. If an individual had both the
right and left elements of a given bone available, the average of the right and left
lengths of that element was used as the measure for that individual
Activity Patterns and Trauma
The study of human remains for markers of activity related stress is useful
for answering questions of physical activity. These questions include what forms of
119
trauma and degenerative changes occur based on work related to differing economic
strategies (Groves 2007).
Degenerative joint disease (DJD) resulting from repeated activities and
advancing age, such as osteoarthritis and osteophytosis, is skeletally manifest as
lipping, porosity, and eburnation. DJD was scored for the four major joints of the
body: shoulder and elbow for the upper limbs, and hip and knee for the lower limbs.
As recommended by Rogers and Waldron (1995), a compound joint was treated as a
single joint, and if any bone surface that comprised that joint was present, it was
recorded by location and lesion type, and scored for severity. For example, if the
articular surface of at least one of the several bones that comprise the knee—distal
femur, proximal tibia, and patella—was present, an observation for DJD of that
knee could be made. The highest score of severity was recorded in the event that
multiple parts of a joint were available.
For evidence of trauma, I used microscopic and macroscopic examination to
distinguish between skeletal damage that had resulted from antemortem processes
as opposed to taphonomic changes and postmortem damage, as delineated by
Galloway (1999), Micozzi (1991), Nawrocki (1995). Indicators of interpersonal
violence include fractures of the cranial vault and nasal bones, cutmarks, and
embedded projectiles (Bridges et al. 2000; Walker 1997). Traumatic injuries
observed through fractures, dislocations, depressions, cutmarks, embedded points,
and ossified connective tissue were recorded by location, type, and remodeling
present. In the recording of long bone fractures, I noted whether an individual had
120
any fractures; thus, even if a person had multiple long bone fractures, the count
would be for one individual affected by long bone trauma. Similarly, a person with
multiple cranial fractures was recorded as one person with cranial trauma.
Statistical Analysis
I used univariate and multivariate statistical techniques in the analysis of
these data. While in China, preliminary analysis included the examination of the
metrical data for outliers that I then re-examined to check for recording errors. I
used the SPSS statistical package in the analysis of data.
For non-parametric data such as those found in observations of pathological
conditions, the chi-square test was used in the analysis of categorical data such as
sex and age groups, as well as in comparisons of pooled samples (region,
subsistence mode, and level of imperial influence). When samples were too small to
meet the criteria for chi-square analysis, Fisher’s Exact Test was used to compare
data in groups of two. The level of significance was set at p = 0.05.
Where appropriate, Student’s t-tests and analysis of variance (ANOVA)
were used for metrical comparisons. When more than two groups were compared, a
one way ANOVA test was performed. If it was determined that a significant
difference existed among the group means (of three of more groups), then the
Fisher’s Least Significant Difference (LSD) post hoc test was used to determine the
nature of the inter-group differences (i.e., which means differed from each other). In
121
cases where there were only two groups under consideration, a Student’s t-test was
performed.
Conclusion
I have described the method of data collection in this chapter. These data
include information to determine age and sex, as well as those variables that
indicate disease and nutritional status, and patterns of activity and trauma. The
meticulous and structured methods that have been established to collect multiple
lines of evidence and diagnostic information for pathological information were
ways to avoid or at least minimize potential problems in sample size biases.
To implement this research plan, I performed the analysis in two phases. In
the first phase, demographic comparisons were made to assess the feasibility of
pooling specific samples (Chapter 7). In the second phase of analysis, these pooled
samples were used to address a specific set of hypotheses and expectations that link
the theoretical models of frontier interaction to bioarchaeological data (Chapter 8).
122
Chapter 7: Demographic Profile and Within-Group Comparisons
This chapter presents the results from the first phase of data analysis. Before
addressing the main research hypotheses regarding interregional frontier interaction,
it was essential to determine the total number of individuals under analysis,
including the age and sex distribution of the samples. The sample sizes of
collections pooled into three larger groups were also determined and within-group
comparisons of these pooled samples were conducted.
The criteria used to group samples include: 1) regional location; 2)
economic mode; and 3) time period within each of these. Comparisons were
conducted to identify possible significant intra-group differences owing to temporal
differences within a group. For example Bronze Age and Iron Age samples were
pooled according to shared regional location. If samples placed into a prospective
pooled group diverge markedly in the frequency of several variables, then the
grouping would appear to be invalid owing to these numerous within-group
differences. If however, intra-groups comparisons show that there is general
consistency within the pooled samples, then the pooled samples are valid and useful
for addressing the research questions analyzed in the following chapter.
Demographic Profiles
Each site was examined independently to determine the minimum number of
individuals and the demographic structure of that collection. Some sites, as seen in
123
the list of sample sizes in Table 7.1, are very small; others are quite large.
Therefore, the health and dietary variables observed from several sites were
combined, not only because these were groupings that were suited to questions
regarding regional populations, mode of economy, and level of state influence, but
also because pooling data increased the power of statistical analyses.
Table 7.1. Sites under analysis, organized by economic mode and time period
Region
Site
Territory Time (BP)
Economy
N
4000-3000
NorthDunmaili
Nomadic
Xinjiang
4
western
(Bronze)
(ED)
Pastoral
3800-3300
Nomadic
Hami
NorthXinjiang
86
(Bronze)
Pastoral
(HTB)
western
2600-2300
Inner
Nomadic
Jinggouzi
North125
Mongolia (Late Bronze) Pastoral
(LJ)
central
3200-2200
Heigouliang
Nomadic
North82
Xinjiang
(Early Iron)
(BYJH)
Pastoral
western
2500-2200
Nileke
Nomadic
North48
Xinjiang
(Iron)
(YNQ)
Pastoral
western
2450-1750
Nomadic
Yanghai
NorthXinjiang
85
Pastoral
(Iron)
(SAY)
western
1650-1550
Lamadong
NorthManchuria
Agropastoral
493
(BL)
(Weijin)
eastern
850-600
Chengbozi
Inner
North16
Agriculture
(SJC)
Mongolia (Jin/Yuan)
central
6000-5000
Miaozigou
Inner
North14
Agriculture
(QM)
Mongolia (Neolithic)
eastern
700-600
Inner
Sanmian
NorthAgriculture
7
Mongolia
(BWS)
(Yuan)
central
700-600
Zhenzishan
Inner
NorthAgriculture
19
(DZX)
Mongolia
(Yuan)
eastern
The minimum number of individuals for all sites is presented according to
economic mode, time period, and region in Figure 7.1. The numbers of juveniles
and adults are also displayed.
124
500
# Individuals
400
300
Total
Subadult
A dult
200
100
P
N
P
N
N
P
B
z
B
z
N
N
-w
-w
es
tE
D
es
t
B
HT
z
N
B
-c
en
N
P
tra
Ir
lL
N
J
-w
e
N
st
P
Y
Ir
N
N
Q
-w
N
e
st
P
Ir
S
AY
N
-w
Ag
es
ro
tB
pa
YJ
st
H
N
AG
-e
a
s
N
tB
AG
eo
L
N
Yu
-e
an
as
tQ
AG
N
-c
M
Yu
en
tr a
an
lS
N
-c
JC
AG
en
tr a
Yu
lB
an
W
N
S
-e
as
tD
ZX
0
Figure 7.1. Sample sizes of each site, listed by subsistence mode (NP = nomadic
pastoralism, Agropast = agropastoral, AG = agricultural), time period (Bz = Bronze
Age, Ir = Iron Age, Neo = Neolithic, Yuan = Yuan Dynasty), and region.
Age Distribution
There are many more adults than juveniles in the samples. In the pooled
sample of all sites (N=979), there are 184 subadults (19%) and 795 adults (81%).
When the samples are divided into more refined age groups, older juveniles
outnumber the youngest age categories, while among adults, young and middle
aged adults outnumber the older adults (Table 7.2; see Appendix, Table A7.1 for
distribution by age and sex).
There are many factors that can bias the age structure of cemetery
collections and produce results like those seen here. Archaeological skeletal
125
assemblages are mortality samples, thus they are unlikely to be a direct reflection of
a living population (Bush and Zvelebil 1991; Wood et al. 1992). Potential biasing
factors in sampling fall into four general categories (Paine and Harpending 1998):
1) cultural biases in deposition with possible differential burial treatment; 2)
taphonomic processes, such as differential preservation of infant and elderly
remains that have less bone mass; 3) archaeological recovery; and 4) bias in age
determination methods. Some of these same factors can affect the sex distribution
found in an archaeological sample, including bias in sex determination (Walker
1995).
Table 7.2. Age distribution of individuals by site
Site
ED
HTB
LJ
H
YNQ
SAY
BL
QM
SJC
BWS
DZX
F
in utero-b
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
I
b-3yr
0
0
27
1
1
7
2
1
0
0
0
C
4-11
0
9
21
6
4
14
11
0
1
0
0
Ad
12-17
0
6
7
5
4
11
36
1
2
0
1
Sub
<18
0
0
6
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
YA
18-34
1
37
41
27
21
24
174
3
10
3
2
MA
35-45
2
14
9
21
11
11
154
3
3
0
4
OA
46+
1
5
5
9
7
14
39
0
0
2
2
A
indet
0
15
9
13
0
4
77
6
0
2
10
Understanding the sampling biases caused by taphonomic processes is
integral to any attempt in extracting information about population structure from
human skeletal assemblages. In addition to extrinsic factors that may bias
preservation of samples, intrinsic anatomical factors that lead to differential
susceptibility to decay must also be considered (Bello et al. 2006). For example,
bone decay rates depend in part upon the ratio of cancellous to cortical bone.
126
Immature skeletons with thin cortical layers and relatively more cancellous bone
that are poorly calcified decay more quickly than those of adults (Gordon and
Buikstra 1981; Walker 1995; Walker et al. 1988). Under conditions of poor
preservation, skeletons with less bone mass, such as those of infants and the elderly,
can be completely lost from the archaeological record.
Age-related variation in the preservation of skeletal remains can distort
mortality profiles to the extent that they provide very little information about the
age structure of the living population (Nawrocki 1995; Walker 1995; Walker et al.
1988). A demographic profile constructed from a sample thus affected could
significantly misrepresent the actual structure of the death assemblage. To address
this problem of possible differential preservation or sampling bias, the multiple
methods for age and sex determination as outlined in established protocols (see
Chapter 6) were strictly followed to construct as accurate a demographic profile as
possible.
In this study, the under-representation of the youngest and oldest individuals
is likely related to differential preservation, where the smaller skeletal mass of
infants and the osteoporotic loss of mass in elderly remains can result in increased
susceptibility to disintegration after burial (Walker et al. 1988). Further, sampling
bias during excavation and by curators for better preserved remains and for
consideration of limited storage capacity may also account for the age distribution
of samples. From my personal observation and handling of the bones, burials from
many sites preserved exceptionally well. This preservation suggests the whole
127
burial could have been preserved, though I often only saw select “important”
elements such as the skull, limb bones, and pelvis. Also, at least two sites have
reported instances of looting activities that may have led to biased sampling when
recovering burials (Zhongguo 1995; Zhang 2005). All of these issues may account
for the resulting demographic profiles of each burial sample.
Sex Distribution
In the total sample, the frequency of males and females is approximately
equal. There are 408 males (51%) and 379 females (48%), with eight adults (1%)
who could not be accurately given a male or female sex designation (see Figure 7.2
for breakdown by site). The slight excess of adult males does not deviate
significantly from an expected sex ratio of 1 to 1 (χ2 = 2.116, p ≤ 0.2).
The determination of the sex was impeded by three major constraints: the
lack of elements in some burials with which to make a determination; commingling
of remains; and the age of individuals, in particular infants and children. For adults,
this label of “Indeterminate Adult” was relatively rare (n=8 from a total of 795
adults). In most instances, adult burials had enough sexually dimorphic traits
available for observation so that the sex of individuals could be determined, while
the sex of pre-pubescent individuals remains unknown.
128
250
# Individuals
200
150
A dult Male
A dult Female
100
Indet.A dult
50
B
P
N
P
N
N
P
B
z
B
z
N
N
-w
-w
es
tE
D
es
t
z
HT
N
-c
B
N
e
P
nt
Ir
r
al
N
LJ
-w
N
e
P
st
Ir
Y
N
N
-w
Q
N
es
P
tS
Ir
N
AY
-w
Ag
es
ro
tB
pa
s
YJ
AG t N H
ea
N
AG
s
eo
tB
Yu
L
N
-e
a
as
n
AG
N
tQ
-c
Yu
M
en
an
tr a
N
l
S
-c
AG
JC
e
Y u n tr a
lB
an
W
N
S
-e
as
tD
ZX
0
Figure 7.2. Distribution of sexes by site
Pooling Samples
As mentioned above, the size of the skeletal collections from several of the
sites is small and pooling was necessary to obtain samples large enough to address
the questions about cultural (sociopolitical and economic) influences on health
variables (Figure 7.3). Even with these pooled samples, the one site that comprises
the Agropastoral sample (n=493) is larger than all other groupings. Where
appropriate, Fisher’s Exact Test was used in testing of non-parametric data rather
than chi-square to compensate for the sample size disparities.
129
500
450
400
# Individuals
350
300
Nomadic Pastoral
Agropastoral
250
Agricultural
200
150
100
50
0
Subadult
*Adult
Adult Male
Adult Female
Figure 7.3. Age and sex distribution of samples pooled by subsistence mode
Nomadic Pastoral Samples
Within the samples that comprise the Nomadic Pastoral group (n=430) are
those from two different time periods, Bronze Age and Iron Age, as well as two
different regions 1 . Two of the three sites that comprise the pastoral Bronze Age
grouping include Dunmaili (ED), with a sample size of four individuals (one male,
three females) and Hami (HTB), with a sample size of 86 individuals (15 juveniles,
38 males, 33 females). Both of these sites are in the North-western group, as they
are located in Xinjiang, the Outer zone of state influence. A third sample in the
pastoral Bronze Age group is Jinggouzi (LJ), which is from Inner Mongolia and is
1
See Chapter 5 Materials for justification for each sample’s classification into one of three regional
groupings (North-western, North-central, and North-eastern).
130
therefore in the “Inner” zone and considered North-central. This sample includes 61
juveniles, 29 males, and 35 females.
The second group of pastoralists is comprised of those samples from the
Iron Age, which all derive from the “Outer” zone of Xinjiang, and all are grouped
as North-western. These samples include those from Heigouliang (BYJH), with 82
individuals (12 juveniles, 36 males, and 34 females), burials from Nileke (YNQ),
with 48 individuals (9 juveniles, 23 males, and 16 females), and those from Yanghai
(SAY), with 85 individuals (32 juveniles, 30 males, and 23 females).
Agropastoral Sample
The Agropastoral group is comprised solely of the Lamadong (BL)
collection, which is the largest out of all groups, with 493 individuals. There are 49
subadults and 444 adults (229 males, 214 females, and one adult of indeterminate
sex). These individuals derive from the “Early Imperial” level of state control, and
are roughly contemporaneous with the pastoral Iron Age samples. These individuals
are classified into the North-eastern in regional grouping.
Agricultural Samples
The Agricultural group is comprised of several collections, the earliest of
which comes from a Neolithic size, Miaogouzi (QM). This collection has 14
individuals (two juveniles, five males, three females and four adults of
indeterminate sex), who are classified as North-eastern. The other three sites are
from the “Middle Imperial” period, during the Mongolian (Yuan) Dynasty of the
131
13th and 14th centuries AD. Two of the sites are located in Inner Mongolian and
placed into the North-central group: Chengbozi (SJC) with 16 individuals (three
juveniles, seven males, and six females), and Sanmian (BWS) with seven
individuals (three males and four females). The remaining Yuan Dynasty sample,
Dunmaili (DZX), is classified as North-eastern, with 19 individuals (one juvenile,
seven males, and eight females).
Intra-group Comparisons
I conducted intra-group comparisons to determine if there were significant
differences between skeletal collections that had been grouped from different time
periods based on geographical location and economic mode. Over long periods of
time, it might be expected that later populations differ from earlier populations in
morphology, such as seen in modern examples of secular trends in height (Bogin
1999). To test whether temporally different samples within each pooled group
differed, comparisons were made of group means of adult long bone dimensions.
These tests were conducted within regional groups and within economic groups.
Following these temporal intra-group tests, I tested subgroups in
consideration of groups pooled by subsistence. These comparisons were made
between adults and juveniles within each pooled economic group, as well as
between males and females of a given pooled group. As subsistence strategy
differences among groups are expected and these differences affect multiple
indicators (health, diet, and activity), all pathological markers were compared
132
within these subgroups of age and sex to see if any within a pooled economic group
deviated markedly. My interpretations of these findings follow presentation of the
results.
Regional Populations
I have pooled together samples from sites located in similar regions into the
geographical categories of North-western, North-central, and North-eastern, but
within each grouping, samples come from different time periods. Within the Northwestern group are collections from the Bronze Age and Iron Age. Within the Northcentral group are those from the Bronze Age and those from the “Middle” imperial
period of the Yuan Dynasty (AD 1279 – 1368). Within the North-eastern group are
samples from the Neolithic, “Early Imperial” period of the Weijin (AD 337 – 441),
and “Middle Imperial” samples from the Yuan Dynasty (Table 7.3).
Table 7.3. Mean long bone lengths (in cm) by region and time period
#
HUMERUS
M
#
F
N-western
Bronze
5 31.14 5
N-western
Iron
29 31.93 24
N-central
Bronze
3 31.67 2
N-central
Middle
0
0
1
N-eastern
Neolithic 4 31.20 4
N-eastern
Early
83 31.10 75
N-eastern
Middle
4 33.50 0
28.88
#
5
FEMUR
M
#
44.50
8
F
#
41.61
5
TIBIA
M
#
36.58
4
F
33.34
29.37 46 45.09 34 41.29 34 36.62 31 33.52
28.48 19 43.08 24 39.58
7
35.29
8
32.02
28.05
5
43.66
4
39.56
2
34.73
2
31.78
30.58
4
45.42
4
43.2
4
36.69
4
34.45
29.01 133 43.72 141 40.38 124 34.63 132 32.45
0
4
43.60
133
4
40.03
3
35.83
1
33.20
North-western: Bronze Age vs. Iron Age
Comparisons between the Bronze and Iron Age North-western group in
mean lengths for the humerus, femur, and tibia show there is no significant
difference between males from the two time periods, nor in females (see Appendix,
Table A7.2). These results indicate that despite temporal differences, these samples
are similar enough to be useful in analysis as a pooled regional group.
North-central: Bronze Age vs. Middle Imperial
Likewise, there are no significant differences found between the Bronze Age
and Middle Imperial period North-central samples. Thus, they are suitable for
analysis as a pooled group.
North-eastern: Neolithic, Early Imperial, Middle Imperial
There are some significant differences found within the North-eastern group
of samples from the Neolithic, and imperial Early and Middle periods. In particular,
in the comparison of males, the average length of the tibia is significantly greater
(LSD post hoc test, p = 0.014) in the Neolithic sample (x̄ = 36.69cm) than the Early
Imperial sample (x̄ = 34.63cm). In the comparison of females, the group means for
the humerus, femur, and tibia were all significantly different among the Northeastern samples. Least Significant Difference post hoc tests show that the Neolithic
collection has significantly greater group means than the Early Imperial sample for
all three long bone lengths (Table A7.2).
Despite the apparent differences of the Neolithic samples from other Northeastern samples with regards to the male tibia and female measures of the humerus,
134
femur, and tibia, it must be noted that the Neolithic sample is relatively small, with
a sample size of four compared to considerably larger sample sizes among the other
North-eastern samples (from n=75 up to n=141). Therefore, the Neolithic sample’s
contribution is likewise relatively small to deviations from group means in the
North-eastern pooled sample. Many of the health, diet, and activity data are still
applicable as they are heavily influenced by environmental factors such as shared
subsistence mode.
Subsistence: By Time Period
There are two economic modes where samples from different time periods
were pooled, the Nomadic Pastoral economy and the Agricultural economy. Only
one site comprises the Agropastoral economy, the large collection from the
Manchurian site of Lamadong. Within the Nomadic Pastoral group, samples come
from two broad time periods, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Within the
Agricultural group, samples come from the Neolithic and Middle Imperial period
(Yuan Dynasty). Comparisons were made with respect to the significance of group
means in humeral, femoral, and tibial maximum length (Table 7.4; see Appendix,
Table A7.3 for statistical results). Although I offer a brief discussion of my
interpretations of these results in each section, I conclude with more comprehensive
discussion of general trends from all the results at the end.
135
Table 7.4. Mean long bone lengths (in cm) by economic mode and time period
NP Bronze
NP Iron
Ag Neolithic
Ag Middle
#
8
29
4
1
HUMERUS
M
#
F
#
31.34 7 28.76 24
31.93 24 29.37 46
31.2
4 30.58 4
33.5
2
28.5
9
FEMUR
M
#
43.37 32
45.09 34
45.43 4
43.63 8
F
#
40.08 12
41.29 34
43.2
4
39.79 5
TIBIA
M
#
35.83 12
36.62 31
36.69 4
35.39 3
F
32.63
33.52
34.45
32.25
Nomadic Pastoral: Bronze Age vs. Iron Age
The nomadic pastoral Bronze Age males have an average femur length that
is significantly shorter (t = -3.036, p = 0.003) than that of Iron Age males. Likewise,
Bronze Age females have a significantly shorter (t = -2.341, p = 0.022) average
femur length than Iron Age females. Although not at the level significance, the
average humeral lengths of Bronze Age males and females are somewhat shorter
than that of their Iron Age counterparts. The overall trend in all comparisons is that
Bronze Age samples are shorter in long bone lengths than the Iron Age samples.
The results in this intra-group comparison suggest that the different sites
grouped into the “Nomadic Pastoral” economic group differ in some respects.
Namely, the Bronze Age samples have limbs that are somewhat shorter than Iron
Age samples. Factors that may have contributed to this temporal difference include:
1) improved living conditions in the Iron Age; 2) the geographic proximity of these
samples to China’s influence (the Iron Age samples all derive from distant
Xinjiang, while one Bronze Age sample was near Chinese borders); and 3) regional
differences between the samples as one Bronze Age sample is “North-central,”
while all Iron Age samples are “North-western.”
136
Agricultural: Neolithic vs. Middle Imperial
There are no significant differences in average long bone lengths between
the groups that comprise the Agricultural group except in one instance. The group
mean of the femur length of the Neolithic female group is significantly greater than
that of the Middle Imperial female group (t = 3.316, p = 0.008). While not at the
level of significance, in all other instances (in both sexes) the Neolithic sample has
longer mean lengths for all elements.
As discussed earlier, the Neolithic sample for males and females is small
(n=4 for each), while the Middle Imperial period sample is not much larger (e.g., in
the humerus there is only one case). Nevertheless, results indicate that the Neolithic
sample has longer limbs. This difference may reflect a secular trend for decrease in
height that may be associated with changes in diet and socioeconomic and political
organization, and the related stresses therein from the Neolithic to imperial age.
Subsistence: By Age and Sex
Within each economic mode, groups divided by age (adults and juveniles)
and by sex were analyzed to identify differences in health, diet, and activity markers
(Tables 7.5, 7.6; see Appendix, Table A7.4 for results of statistical tests). These
comparisons test the general consistency within pooled economic groups by the
demographic subgroups of age and sex.
137
Table 7.5. Frequencies of pathological conditions in economic groups by age
category
JUVENILES
Agropastoral
Agricultural
Nomadic Pastoral
Cases
%
Cases
%
Cases
%
AMTL
2 / 61
3%
3 / 41
7%
0/5
0%
Carious
2 / 71
3%
5 / 41
12%
0/5
0%
EH
5 / 43
12%
3 / 37
8%
0/3
0%
Tib osteoperi
1 / 45
2%
0 / 29
0%
0/3
0%
PH
0 / 83
0%
1 / 40
3%
0/4
0%
CO
17 / 74
23%
11 / 30
37%
0/4
0%
Limb fx/indiv
0 / 68
0%
0 / 32
0%
0/3
0%
Cranial fx
2 / 86
2%
0 / 38
0%
0/4
0%
Nasal fx
0 / 33
0%
0/9
0%
0/4
0%
ADULTS
Nomadic Pastoral
Agropastoral
Agricultural
AMTL
Carious
TMJ DJD
EH
Tib osteoperi
PH
CO
Limb fx
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
Shoulder DJD
Elbow DJD
Hip DJD
Cases
93 / 194
60 / 220
30 / 183
19 / 193
4 / 129
4 / 198
22 / 190
12 / 182
22 / 204
5 / 134
28 / 105
37 / 112
33 / 184
%
48%
27%
16%
10%
3%
2%
12%
7%
11%
4%
27%
33%
18%
Cases
173 / 350
192 / 341
48 / 336
33 / 309
18 / 310
3 / 332
20 / 306
22 / 353
6 / 336
2 / 138
56 / 190
66 / 216
37 / 309
138
%
49%
56%
14%
11%
6%
1%
7%
6%
2%
1%
29%
31%
12%
Cases
7 / 24
6 / 23
8 / 23
5 / 21
0 / 16
0 / 22
1 / 22
4 / 24
2 / 21
1 / 20
3 / 11
4 / 13
8 / 31
%
29%
26%
35%
24%
0%
0%
5%
17%
10%
5%
27%
31%
26%
Table 7.6. Frequencies of pathological conditions in economic groups by sex
MALES
Nomadic Pastoral
Agropastoral
Agricultural
Cases
%
Cases
%
Cases
%
AMTL
43 / 100 43% 85 / 180
47%
3 / 12
25%
Carious
24 / 115 21% 87 / 173
50%
3 / 12
25%
TMJ DJD
16 / 93
17% 22 / 175
13%
3 / 11
27%
EH
15 / 101 15% 18 / 158
11%
1 / 11
9%
Tib osteoperi
2 / 69
3%
10 / 150
7%
0/9
0%
PH
3 / 100
3%
1 / 169
1%
0 / 12
0%
CO
10 / 93
11% 18 / 161
11%
1 / 12
8%
Limb fx
8 / 96
8%
18 / 177
10%
2 / 13
15%
Cranial fx
13 / 101 13%
5 / 174
3%
1 / 11
9%
Nasal fx
4 / 69
6%
2 / 68
3%
1 / 11
9%
Shoulder DJD 19 / 58
33% 31 / 100
31%
0/5
0%
Elbow DJD
18 / 59
31% 42 / 112
38%
2/7
29%
Hip DJD
15 / 97
15% 21 / 153
14%
4 / 16
25%
Knee DJD
29 / 83
35% 60 / 155
39%
7 / 15
47%
FEMALES
Nomadic Pastoral
Agropastoral
Agricultural
Cases
%
Cases
%
Cases
%
AMTL
50 / 94
53% 88 / 170
52%
4 / 12
33%
Carious
36 / 105 34% 105 / 168 63%
3 / 11
27%
TMJ DJD
14 / 90
16% 26 / 161
16%
5 / 12
42%
EH
4 / 92
4%
15 / 151
10%
4 / 10
40%
Tib osteoperi
2 / 60
3%
8 / 160
5%
0/7
0%
PH
1 / 98
1%
2 / 163
1%
0 / 10
0%
CO
12 / 97
12%
2 / 145
1%
0 / 10
0%
Limb fx
4 / 86
5%
4 / 176
2%
2 / 11
18%
Cranial fx
9 / 103
9%
1 / 162
1%
1 / 10
10%
Nasal fx
1 / 65
2%
0 / 70
0%
0/9
0%
Shoulder DJD
9 / 47
19%
25 / 90
28%
3/6
50%
Elbow DJD
18 / 53
36% 24 / 104
23%
2/6
33%
Hip DJD
18 / 87
21% 16 / 156
10%
4 / 15
27%
Knee DJD
21 / 78
27% 43 / 159
27%
6 / 12
50%
139
Nomadic Pastoralists
Age Comparison
Nomadic pastoralist age group comparisons show a significant difference in
cribra orbitalia (CO), with a higher frequency in juveniles (23%, p = 0.032, Table
A7.4) than in adults (12%). Conversely, adults have a higher rate of carious lesions
(27% to 3%, p ≤ 0.001), long bone fractures (12% to 0%, p = 0.04), as well as a
significantly greater rate of cranial fractures (10% to 2%, p = 0.029).
These findings are consistent with expectations for age-related changes.
Immature individuals have marrow spaces filled with red marrow which expand to
produce more red blood cells (RBC) during extreme oxygen deprivation, resulting
in active lesions of cribra orbitalia, whereas adults produce RBCs without
expansion into marrow space (Stuart-Macadam 1985). Furthermore, juveniles who
survived this stress into adulthood would have healed orbital lesions. Age
advancement does, however, lead to the accumulation of degenerative changes such
as tooth decay, and increased risk for injuries, as seen in these results.
Sex Comparison
Between males and females of the pastoral sample, there are significant
differences in the rate of individuals with carious lesions and with enamel
hypoplastic (EH) lesions. Females have a significantly higher rate of carious lesions
(34%) than do males at 21% (p = 0.034). Fifteen percent of males have enamel
hypoplastic lesions, while only 4% of females have this condition, which is a
significant difference (p = 0.016). The frequencies of stress indicators such as
140
porotic hyperostosis (PH), cribra orbitalia, and tibial osteoperiostitis are not
significantly different. Nor are there significant differences between the sexes in
activity related markers such as fractures and degenerative joint disease
The higher frequency of enamel hypoplasia in males does suggest that as
juveniles, boys had more stressful episodes than did girls. However, it has been
posited that growing males are more sensitive to stresses than girls, who early on
are apparently more hardy than boys under similar conditions of stress (Hamilton
1982; Stini 1985; Stinson 1992). While Stinson’s (1985) review of this hypothesis
for greater sensitivity in males points out several studies with contrasting results,
she did find that during the prenatal period, males show a greater response to
improved nutrition after stress than females, while females have greater postnatal
catch-up growth. Thus, this finding of higher rates in enamel hypoplasia in males
may reflect an inherent tendency for boys to show greater susceptibility to stress.
The greater frequency of carious lesions in females, as well as antemortem
tooth loss (AMTL, 53% to 43% in males) suggests that females had greater access
to cariogenic foods, such as carbohydrates. The difference between the sexes is
perhaps also an indication that in addition to differential access to agricultural
goods, adult males and females had different settlement patterns. Females in some
nomadic pastoral economies live in more settled locations such as a semipermanent, or permanent home base while the males move with the grazing herds
(Barfield 1993). Thus, gender-based settlement and migratory patterns may have
resulted in sexual differentiation in access to cariogenic cultigens. Furthermore,
141
studies of a diverse array of archaeological populations from different regions and
settings show that in general, females have a higher caries prevalence compared to
males (see Larsen 1997:72). Thus, the greater frequency of caries in Nomadic
Pastoral females (and in Agropastoral females, see below) may be an artifact of
inherent biological attributes, as well as cultural factors.
Agropastoralists
Age Comparison
As was found for the pastoral sample, in the Agropastoral sample juveniles
have a significantly greater rate of cribra orbitalia (37% to 7%, p ≤ 0.001, Table
A7.4). Adults have a significantly higher rate of carious lesions (56% vs. 7%) than
juveniles (p ≤ 0.001). The conditions that explain the higher rate of cribra orbitalia
in juveniles compared to adults, and the greater frequency of carious lesions in
adults, especially adult females are probably similar to tho the physiological factors
discussed above for the nomadic sample.
Sex Comparison
Comparison of males and females show several variables where they differ
at the level of significance (see Table A7.4). In particular, females have a markedly
higher rate of carious lesions, whereas males have a higher frequency of cribra
orbitalia, long bone fractures, and degenerative joint changes of the elbow and knee.
Agropastoral females may have had greater access to cariogenic foods than
males as a consequence of sexual division of labor that exists in an agropastoral
economy, in which men are typically the primary labor force involved in herding
142
animals (Barfield 1993:146). This division of labor may also explain the higher rate
of fractures and DJD in the elbow and knee joints of males. The higher frequency of
cribra orbitalia in Agropastoral males may provide further evidence for the greater
susceptibility of boys to childhood stress compared to females.
Agriculturalists
Age Comparison
Within the Agricultural group, there are no significant differences in the
frequencies of health or diet related paleopathological markers between juveniles
and adults (Table A7.4). Note, the sample size of juveniles is quite small (n=5 or
lower in observations), which limited meaningful comparisons.
Sex Comparison
There also are no significant differences between adult males and females in
frequencies of any of the pathological markers. However, it should be noted that,
while not at the level of statistical significance (perhaps owing to the small sample
sizes) females have a greater rate of enamel hypoplasia than males (38% vs. 0%),
and a higher frequency of cranial trauma (14% to 0%).
The lack of significant differences between the sexes in the pooled
Agricultural sample is somewhat surprising because other studies have shown that
sexual division of labor commonly found in agricultural societies leads to
concomitant differential frequencies in the markers of health and activity (Larsen
1997). Perhaps this lack of difference is due to the size limitations in the
Agricultural sample where each sex usually had fewer than 15 observations per
143
variable. With respect to the apparently greater childhood stress experienced by
females, Confucian ideology and patriarchal system in China, which gives
preferential treatment for male children (e.g., Lavely and Wong 1998), may account
for the higher rates of enamel growth disruption in females in this mostly “Middle
Imperial” period group.
Discussion and Conclusion
This chapter has presented the results of analysis performed on the
demographic structure of the sites as well as the results of pooled sampling by
regional location, mode of economy, and different time periods within each. Intragroup comparisons were made to determine the suitability of pooling these
temporally distinct samples. That is, tests checked for significant differences within
these pooled groups. Marked differences would suggest the unsuitability of
grouping certain sites together, whereas the lack of significant differences would
suggest they were natural groupings despite temporal differences.
At Jilin University’s Research Center for Frontier Archaeology, researchers
used data from studies of craniometrics and nonmetric traits, as well as
mitochondrial DNA and archaeological evidence to identify ethnic groups and
labeled collections based upon these sources (e.g., Fu et al. 2007; He and Xu 2002;
Liu and Zhu 1995; Shan 2002; Wang 2004, see Chapter 5). Their assignments lend
support for the manner in which I have pooled samples by geographical location.
144
The pooled groups for regions include North-western, North-central, and Northeastern samples along China’s northern frontier.
Comparisons of the regional groups for the maximum length of long bones
(humerus, femur, and tibia) show that despite within-group differences in time
periods from which these samples derive, there was not much difference in group
means. The instances of variation in mean long bone lengths across time periods
were likely a result of small sample size (e.g., small Neolithic sample vs. larger
samples from later periods in the North-eastern group), secular trends in body size,
and more importantly, environmental changes through time.
I also pooled samples into groups depending on subsistence mode: Nomadic
Pastoral, Agropastoral, and Agricultural. I examined these pooled economic groups
for differences in frequencies according to the time periods from which samples
derived. I collected data from earlier populations such as the Neolithic and Bronze
Age to determine the baseline dietary and health status of each group prior to the
increased socioeconomic interaction associated with the rise of the Chinese empire.
More recent samples derive from the Early Imperial and Middle Imperial periods.
In the pooled Nomadic Pastoral group, Bronze Age males and females had
shorter long bone measurements than males and females of the Iron Age. This
increase in body size over time may be a product of improved living conditions
during the Iron Age. This inferred improvement in health status is somewhat
contrary to expectations since China had established a united empire and was
expanding into the frontier by the Iron Age. One factor to consider is that all sites in
145
the Iron Age sample are located in distant Xinjiang, while an Inner Mongolian
(“Inner” zone) sample contributes to the Bronze Age sample. Socioeconomic
instabilities associated with living close to Chinese borders may have led to growth
disruptions and hence decreased height in the Inner Mongolian site that contributed
to the lower average height among Bronze Age samples.
In the intra-group comparison for the Agricultural group there was only one
significant difference: greater Neolithic female femur lengths in comparison to
those of the Middle Imperial females. Keeping in mind that the samples sizes for
both periods are small, the general trend is for greater body size in the Neolithic
period compared to the later period. This difference may reflect a secular trend for
decrease in height that appears in many populations (Walker and Eng 2007),
especially marked after the Neolithic (e.g., the 8000 year declines in height in Latin
America associated with social, economic, and political factors, Bogin 1999:248258). Intensification of agriculture, increased sedentism and disease loads, along
with increased social inequality and overall decrease in health from the Neolithic to
the imperial age may all contribute to decreased stature, and will be discussed in the
following chapter.
Finally, a more fine-grained examination of differences in each mode of
economy in relation to subsets of society revealed some differences based on age
and sex. In particular, there were differences between adults and juveniles in the
rates of certain childhood stresses and in the rates of paleopathological indicators of
health and activity between the sexes. These differences are most marked within the
146
Nomadic Pastoral and Agropastoral samples. In these groups, juveniles had a
greater incidence of cribra orbitalia than adults of the same economic group. In
addition to greater susceptibility for red marrow expansion in childhood, these
results may also be attributed to selective mortality of these children, who died
before healing, whereas adults who survived such childhood stresses had healed (no
longer visible) lesions. Adults in these samples, however, had greater risk of
conditions related to cumulative exposure to insults (e.g., cariogenic food) and
dangers (e.g., fractures).
The differences between the sexes in paleopathological indicators also point
to possible differential buffering of females compared to males during childhood,
which may be for reasons that are cultural or biological (girls as the more “hardy”
sex). Cultural factors include sexual division of labor and differential access to
resources, which may account for the greater rate of carious lesions in females,
while males often suffered more risk of fractures and degenerative changes, likely a
result of activity related to subsistence, and possibly warfare.
In this chapter, in addition to the results of demographic profiles, I have
examined the suitability of pooling samples by region and mode of economy.
Despite differences from temporal disparity within groups, these groups appear to
be appropriate for use in addressing issues of interregional interaction along the
frontier. The following chapter presents the results of comparisons between groups
pooled by regional location, subsistence mode, and level of imperial influence and
geographic distance from China.
147
Chapter 8: Inter-Group Comparisons of Regional Variation,
Subsistence Mode, and Level of Imperial Influence
The preceding chapter dealt with results from analysis of the demographic
composition of the total sample and the results of intra-group analyses of
pathological conditions to assess whether there were differences within the pooled
groups for regional locations and modes of economy. This chapter presents the
second stage of analysis, first with the results of comparisons between the pooled
regional groups, which determined the potential differences between the groups as
related to local adaptations within these areas. As local adaptation is connected to
ecological conditions that shaped decisions for subsistence strategies, this is
followed by a presentation of the results of tests designed to explore the three major
hypotheses discussed in Chapter 4. In particular, these include the analyses of the
differences in samples pooled for mode of economy, and those populations under
different levels of state influence from China depending on time period and
depending on geographical proximity to China.
Regional Comparisons
I pooled samples into groups based on regional location (North-western,
North-central, and North-eastern). I compared adults from these groups with respect
to variables related to dental health, health and nutrition, and activity patterns
(Table 8.1, see Appendix, Table A8.1 for statistical results). Although I highlight
148
those results for which there is a statistically significant difference between groups,
I also note trends that may not be at the level of significance.
Table 8.1. Frequencies of pathological conditions among regional groups
MALE
N-western
N-central
N-eastern
Cases
%
Cases
%
Cases
%
AMTL
43 / 96
45%
3 / 13
23%
85 / 183
46%
Cavity
24 / 98
24%
3 / 26
12%
87 / 176
49%
TMJ DJD
16 / 90
18%
3 / 12
25%
22 / 177
12%
EH
11 / 86
13%
4/8
50%
19 / 162
12%
Tib osteoperi
2 / 46
4%
0 / 25
0%
10 / 157
6%
PH
3 / 90
3%
0 / 19
0%
1 / 172
1%
CO
10 / 84
12%
0 / 18
0%
19 / 164
12%
Limb fx
5 / 69
7%
3 / 32
9%
19 / 185
10%
Cranial fx
13 / 90
14%
0 / 20
0%
6 / 176
3%
Nasal fx
4 / 60
7%
1 / 18
6%
2 / 69
3%
Shoulder DJD 17 / 40
43%
2 / 18
11%
31 / 104
30%
Elbow DJD
16 / 41
39%
3 / 20
15%
43 / 117
37%
Hip DJD
13 / 73
18%
3 / 29
10%
24 / 164
15%
Knee DJD
25 / 58
43%
8 / 32
25%
63 / 163
39%
FEMALE
N-western
N-central
N-eastern
Cases
%
Cases
%
Cases
%
AMTL
45 / 83
54%
7 / 16
44%
90 / 177
51%
Cavirty
34 / 81
42%
2 / 29
7%
107 / 172 62%
TMJ DJD
13 / 82
16%
4 / 13
31%
28 / 168
17%
EH
4 / 73
5%
1 / 26
4%
18 / 156
12%
Tib osteoperi
2 / 41
5%
0 / 21
0%
8 / 165
5%
PH
1 / 81
1%
0 / 22
0%
2 / 168
1%
CO
11 / 82
13%
1 / 20
5%
22 / 150
15%
Limb fx
1 / 57
2%
4 / 33
12%
5 / 183
3%
Cranial fx
4 / 85
5%
6 / 23
26%
0 / 167
0%
Nasal fx
1 / 53
2%
0 / 17
0%
0 / 74
0%
Shoulder DJD
8 / 31
26%
2 / 17
12%
27 / 95
28%
Elbow DJD
17 / 34
50%
3 / 30
10%
25 / 109
23%
Hip DJD
18 / 61
30%
1 / 32
3%
19 / 165
12%
Knee DJD
19 / 51
37%
3 / 31
10%
47 / 167
28%
149
Dental Health
The proportion of North-eastern males and females with carious lesions
(49% and 62% respectively) is significantly greater than that of their counterparts in
the North-western (males, p ≤ 0.001; females p = 0.003) and North-central (males, p
≤ 0.001; females, p ≤ 0.001) groups.
On the other hand, though not at the level of significance the North-western
and North-eastern samples show similar rates of antemortem tooth loss (AMTL)
(about half of the samples were affected), whereas only North-central females
approximate that rate, while North-central males have 23%. In contrast, Northcentral males and females have higher rates of TMJ disease than their counterparts
in the other two groups.
Health and Nutrition
For non-specific stress markers, the North-central males have a significantly
greater incidence (50%) of enamel hypoplastic (EH) lesions than do North-western
(p = 0.021) and North-eastern males (p = 0.013). In contrast, males and females of
the North-western and North-eastern groups have similar rates of porotic
hyperostosis (PH) and cribra orbitalia (CO), which are somewhat higher than found
in the North-central group, though not at the level of significance.
Comparison of mean of long bone lengths shows that the North-western,
North-central, and North-eastern samples differ significantly among each other in
average femur and tibia lengths for both males and females (Tables 8.2, 8.3). The
humeral lengths do differ somewhat between the North-western and North-eastern
150
male samples, but that difference is not statistically significant (p = 0.057).
Likewise, there are no significant differences in humeral lengths among the females
from different regions.
Table 8.2. Mean long bone lengths (in cm) by region
N-western
N-central
N-eastern
HUMERUS
FEMUR
TIBIA
#
M
#
F
#
M
#
F
#
M
#
F
35 31.79 30 29.22 52 45.01 42 41.35 40 36.59 35 33.55
3 31.40 3 29.08 24 43.21 28 39.58 9 35.17 10 31.97
87 31.14 79 29.08 140 43.76 149 40.45 130 34.71 137 32.52
Table 8.3. Significance of differences in long bone lengths by region
MALE
Bone
Significant
Statistic
d.f
p-value
LSD Post Hoc
Humerus
n.s.
F=2.938
2, 122
0.057
Femur
Yes
F=9.526
2, 213
0.000 West vs. Central +
Tibia
Yes
F=16.171
2, 176
0.000 East Asian
FEMALE
Humerus
n.s.
F=0.120
2, 109
0.887
Femur
Yes
F=8.631
2, 216
0.000 All f/ each other
Yes
F=7.079
2, 179
0.001 West vs. Central +
Tibia
East
Least Significant Difference (LSD) post hoc tests show that the Northwestern male sample has significantly longer average lengths of the femur and tibia
compared to the other groups. Among females, all groups are significantly different
from each other in femur length, with the longest average length in the Northwestern female group, followed by North-eastern, then by North-central females.
The North-western female sample also has a significantly greater average length of
the tibia compared to the other groups.
151
Activity
With respect to activity markers, North-western males have a significantly
higher rate of shoulder (p = 0.032) and elbow (p = 0.051) degenerative joint disease
(DJD) than do the North-central males. Likewise, the North-western female group
has a significantly greater rate of DJD of the elbow, hip, and knee relative to the
North-central and North-eastern female groups (see Table A8.1). The overall trend
is for higher rates of joint disease in the North-western and North-eastern samples
(especially in males of each group) relative to their North-central counterparts.
There are also significant differences in the rate of fractures. North-western
males have a greater frequency of cranial trauma than do the North-eastern males (p
= 0.002). Among the female groups, the North-central group has the highest rate of
cranial fractures, which is significantly greater than North-western females (p =
0.006), who in turn have significantly greater rate than the North-eastern females (p
= 0.012); the difference between North-central to North-eastern, then, is highly
significant (p ≤ 0.001). In long bone fractures, the North-central female group also
has a greater rate than the North-eastern sample (p = 0.033).
Subsistence Mode
To address the effects of subsistence strategy on these populations, I
compared group means of variables according to subsistence mode (Nomadic
Pastoral, Agropastoral, and Agricultural pooled samples). It is possible that health
stress associated with different economic lifestyles and workload allocations are
152
reflected in various segments of each society. For example, did juveniles experience
more stress in the Agricultural or Nomadic Pastoral sample? Did males have more
fractures in the Agropastoral or Agricultural sample? Did females have more joint
disease under an agrarian lifestyle?
In order to determine possible effects of division of labor based on sex and
age and associated health conditions within each economic mode, comparisons
were made between juveniles in each group, as well as between adult males and
between adult females (Table 8.4; see Appendix, Table A8.2 for associated results
of statistical tests). The order in which I present the results of comparisons in
pathological markers (for dental health, health and nutrition, and activity) is first
Juveniles, next Adult Males, and then Adult Females.
Finally, it is also recognized that there are age-related changes that can
affect the frequency of several variables. Accordingly, I also examined degenerative
changes that are correlated with age (see Appendix, Table A8.3), and noted the
pattern and distribution of traumatic injuries among adult male and females from
different age cohorts (Table A8.4).
153
154
AMTL
Cavity
TMJ DJD
EH
Tib ost.peri.
PH
CO
Upper fx
Lower fx
Limb fx/ind
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
Shdr DJD
Elbow DJD
Hip DJD
Knee DJD
ADULTS
Nomadic
%
M cases
43 / 100 43%
24 / 115 21%
16 / 93
17%
15 / 101 15%
2 / 69
3%
3 / 100
3%
10 / 93
11%
5 / 146
3%
4 / 200
2%
8 / 96
9%
13 / 101 13%
4 / 69
6%
19 / 58
33%
18 / 59
31%
15 / 97
15%
29 / 83
35%
Pastoral
F cases
50 / 94
36 / 105
14 / 90
4 / 92
2 / 60
1 / 98
12 / 97
2 / 131
2 / 183
4 / 86
9 / 103
1 / 65
9 / 47
19 / 53
18 / 87
21 / 78
%
53%
34%
16%
4%
3%
1%
12%
2%
1%
5%
9%
2%
19%
36%
21%
27%
M cases
85 / 180
87 / 173
22 / 175
18 / 158
10 / 150
1 / 169
18 / 161
6 / 278
12 / 383
18 / 177
5 / 174
2 / 67
31 / 100
42 / 112
21 / 153
60 / 155
Agropastoral
%
F cases
47% 88 / 170
50% 105 / 168
13% 26 / 161
11% 15 / 151
7%
8 / 160
1%
2 / 163
11%
2 / 145
2%
3 / 264
3%
1 / 399
10%
4 / 176
3%
1 / 162
3%
0 / 70
31%
25 / 90
38% 24 / 107
14% 16 / 156
39% 43 / 159
Table 8.4. Frequencies of pathological conditions by economic mode
JUVENILES Nom. Pastoral
Agropastoral
Agriculture
Cases
%
Cases
%
Cases
%
AMTL
2 / 61
3%
3 / 41
7%
0/5
0%
Cavity
2 / 71
3%
5 / 41
12%
0/5
0%
EH
5 / 43
12%
3 / 37
8%
0/3
0%
Tib ost.peri.
1 / 45
2%
0 / 29
0%
0/3
0%
PH
0 / 83
0%
1 / 40
3%
0/4
0%
CO
17 / 74
23%
11 / 30
37%
0/4
0%
Upper fx
0 / 115
0%
0 / 40
0%
0/3
0%
Lower fx
0 / 136
0%
0 / 74
0%
0/6
0%
Limb fx/ind
0 / 68
0%
0 / 32
0%
0/3
0%
Cranial fx
2 / 86
2%
0 / 38
0%
0/4
0%
Nasal fx
0 / 33
0%
0/9
0%
0/4
0%
%
52%
63%
16%
10%
5%
1%
1%
1%
0%
2%
1%
0%
28%
23%
10%
27%
M cases
3 / 12
3 / 12
3 / 11
1 / 11
0/9
0 / 12
1 / 12
1 / 12
1 / 27
2 / 13
1 / 11
1 / 11
0/5
2/7
4 / 16
7 / 15
Agricultural
%
F cases
25%
4 / 12
25%
3 / 11
27%
5 / 12
9%
4 / 10
0%
0/7
0%
0 / 10
8%
0 / 10
8%
1 / 14
4%
1 / 22
15%
2 / 11
9%
1 / 10
9%
0/9
0%
3/6
29%
2/6
25%
4 / 15
47%
6 / 12
%
33%
27%
42%
40%
0%
0%
0%
7%
5%
18%
10%
0%
50%
33%
27%
50%
Juveniles
Dental Health
There were no significant differences in the incidence of paleopathological
and dietary variables in juveniles from difference subsistence modes (Table A8.2).
Despite the lack of differences at the level of significance, there were notable
trends. In particular, Agropastoral children have a greater rate of AMTL (7%) and
carious lesions (12%) than do the Nomadic Pastoral juvenile sample (3% for both).
Health and Nutrition
There is also a greater rate of cribra orbitalia in the Agropastoral juvenile
sample (37%) relative to the Nomadic Pastoral sample (23%). However Nomadic
Pastoral children experienced a higher rate of enamel hypoplastic lesions (12%)
compared to Agropastoral children (8%). The sample of Agricultural children was
small and none had any observed incidences of paleopathological markers.
Activity
There were rarely any cases of fractures in any of the juvenile samples. The
only instances of trauma were two cases of blunt force cranial fractures in the
Nomadic Pastoral juvenile sample that were healed, and one healed metatarsal
fracture in an Agorpastoral juvenile. All cases were adolescents (between 12-17
years old).
155
Adult Males
Dental Health
Agropastoral males have a higher rate of carious lesions (87/173, 50%) than
the Nomadic Pastoral (24/115, 21%) and Agricultural (3/12, 25%) samples, which
is highly significant (p ≤ 0.001, Table A8.2). While not at the level of significance,
Nomadic Pastoral and Agropastoral males have higher rates of AMTL (43% and
47% respectively) than the Agricultural group (25%).
Health and Nutrition
There are no significant differences among the males in indicators of nonspecific stress. However, there are slightly higher rates of the enamel hypoplasia
and porotic hyperostosis in the Nomadic Pastoral group than the other two groups
and both the Nomadic Pastoral and Agropastoral groups share a similar rate of
cribra orbitalia (11%) that is higher than that in the Agropastoral sample (8%). The
Agropastoral sample has the highest rate of osteoperiostitis (9%) compared to the
Nomadic Pastoral sample (4%) and zero cases among the Agricultural males.
In terms of long bone lengths, there are significant differences in group
means of the humerus, femur, and tibia (Tables 8.5, 8.6). In all instances, the
Nomadic Pastoral male sample has significantly longer average measurements of
these long bones compared to the Agropastoral male sample. While not at the level
of significance, these measures are also slightly longer measures than those in the
Agricultural group.
156
Table 8.5. Mean long bone lengths (in cm) by economic mode
HUMERUS
Nom. Pastoral
Agropastoral
Agricultural
FEMUR
TIBIA
#
M
#
F
#
M
#
F
#
M
#
F
38 31.84 32 29.2 71 44.49 66 40.7 47 36.39 43 33.27
83 31.06 75 29.03 133 43.72 141 40.38 124 34.63 132 32.45
4 32.02 5 29.96 12 44.18 12 40.93 8 36.01 7 33.51
Table 8.6. Inter-economy statistical comparison of male long bong lengths
Bone
Significant
Statistic
d.f.
p-value
LSD Post Hoc
Humerus
Yes
F=5.067
2, 122
0.008 NP vs. Agropast
Femur
Yes
F=3.176
2, 213
0.044 NP vs. Agropast
Tibia
Yes
F=16.770
2, 176
0
NP vs. Agropast
Activity
With respect to cranial fractures, Nomadic Pastoral males have a greater rate
(13%) than do Agropastoral males (3%) that is significant (p = 0.002). This rate is
somewhat higher than the rate in Agricultural males (9%). While not at the level of
significance, the Agricultural sample has higher frequencies of nasal and long bone
fractures than the other groups, though the samples sizes are considerably smaller in
the Agricultural sample. Also not at the level of significance are any differences in
the frequencies of joint disease in the shoulder, elbow, hip and knee among the
three economic groups. In fact there is much similarity, especially between the
Nomadic Pastoral and Agropastoral samples.
Adult Females
Dental Health
The carious lesion rate of Agropastoral females (63%) is significantly
greater relative to the rates in the Nomadic Pastoral (34%, p ≤ 0.001) and
Agricultural (27%, p = 0.027) female samples. While not at the level of
157
significance, the Nomadic Pastoral and Agropastoral groups have higher rates of
AMTL (53% and 52% respectively) than the Agricultural group (33%). In contrast,
the latter has a higher frequency of TMJ disease (42%) than the other two (both
16%).
Health and Nutrition
Nomadic Pastoral females have a significantly greater rate of cribra orbitalia
compared to the Agropastoral sample (p ≤ 0.001). The Agricultural sample has a
greater incidence of enamel hypoplastic lesions relative to the Nomadic Pastoral (p
= 0.003) and Agropastoral (p = 0.019) female groups.
The comparisons of long bone measures show that only tibial length differs
significantly among the samples, with Nomadic Pastoral female sample having
longer average tibial length than the Agropastoral group (Tables 8.5, 8.7).
Table 8.7. Inter-economy statistical comparison of female long bong lengths
Bone
Significant
Statistic
d.f.
p-value
LSD Post Hoc
Humerus
n.s.
F=1.370
2, 109
0.258
Femur
n.s.
F=1.014
2, 216
0.364
Tibia
Yes
F=5.208
2, 179
0.006 NP vs. Agropast
Activity
Nomadic Pastoral females suffered significantly (see Table A8.2) greater
rates of hip DJD (21%, p = 0.033) and cranial trauma (9%, p = 0.001) compared to
the Agropastoral sample (10% hip DJD; 1% cranial fracture). The Agricultural
sample has a significantly greater incidence of long bone fractures relative (18%, p
= 0.042) to the Agropastoral sample (2%). This rate is also higher than that found
among Nomadic Pastoral females (5%), though not at the level of significance.
158
Total Adult Population
To explore economic mode differences among “adults” in general, I
combined adult male and female samples within each economic group to create a
“Total Adult Population” for each economic group (as discussed in Chapter 7, sex
ratios are relatively similar among all groups). When this is done, a pattern of
statistically significant differences in pathological conditions is found that parallels
that seen when males and females were considered separately, as presented below
(Table 8.8, see Appendix, Table A8.2 for statistical results).
Table 8.8. Adult frequencies of pathological conditions by economic mode
NP Adult
Agpast Adult
Ag Adult
Cases
%
Cases
%
Cases
%
AMTL
93 / 194 48% 173 / 350 49%
7 / 24
29%
Cavity
60 / 220 27% 192 / 341 56%
6 / 23
26%
TMJ DJD
30 / 183 16% 48 / 336 14%
8 / 23
35%
EH
19 / 193 10% 33 / 309 11%
5 / 21
24%
Tib osteoperi. 5 / 129
4% 21 / 310 7%
0 / 16
0%
PH
4 / 198
2%
3 / 332
1%
0 / 22
0%
CO
22 / 190 12% 20 / 306 7%
1 / 22
5%
Upper fx
7 / 277
3%
9 / 542
2%
2 / 26
8%
Lower fx
6 / 383
2% 13 / 782 2%
2 / 49
4%
Limb fx/ind 12 / 182 7% 22 / 353 6%
4 / 24
17%
Cranial fx
22 / 204 11% 6 / 336
2%
2 / 21
10%
Nasal fx
5 / 134
4%
2 / 137
1%
1 / 20
5%
Shdr DJD
28 / 105 27% 56 / 190 29%
3 / 11
27%
Elbow DJD
37 / 112 33% 66 / 216 31%
4 / 13
31%
Hip DJD
33 / 184 18% 37 / 309 12%
8 / 31
26%
Knee DJD
50 / 161 31% 103 / 314 33% 13 / 27 48%
Dental Health
For pathological conditions associated with diet, there are significant
differences in several instances. The rate of carious lesions in the Agropastoral adult
159
sample is significantly higher than the other groups (p ≤ 0.001). In the prevalence of
TMJ disease, Agricultural adults have a higher rate than the Nomadic Pastoral (p =
0.044) and Agropastoral (p = 0.016) groups. In contrast, although not at the level of
significance, the Nomadic Pastoral and Agropastoral groups have similarly higher
rates (48%, 49%) of AMTL than the Agricultural (29%) total adult sample.
Health and Nutrition
The Agricultural adult sample has the highest rate of enamel hypoplasia
among all three groups, whereas the Nomadic Pastoral group has the highest rate of
cribra orbitalia. Osteoperiostitis is highest among the Agropastoral sample.
However, none of these differences were at the level of significance.
Sexual dimorphism was also addressed by calculating the ratio of female to
male long bone measures (of the humerus, femur, and tibia) for each subsistence
mode. I then compared these female to male ratios across the economic modes. The
closer to 100% the female to male long bone measure ratio fell, then the more
similar the sexes were and the smaller the degree of sexual dimorphism.
Conversely, the further from 100% the ratio fell, the greater the degree of sexual
dimorphism (Table 8.9)
As seen in Table 8.9, sexual dimorphism is greatest among the Nomadic
Pastoralists in all cases, most often followed by the Agropastoral population, who in
turn have greater sexual dimorphism than the Agricultural population (except the
tibia, where the Agriculturalists have greater dimorphism than the Agropastoralists).
160
Table 8.9. Degree of sexual dimorphism in long bone lengths by economic groups
(where NP = nomadic pastoral, Agpa = agropastoral, AG = agricultural)
Nomadic
Sexual
Bone
Pastoralism Agropastoralism Agriculture Dimorphism
Humerus
92.10%
93.30%
94.40%
NP>Agpa>AG
Femur
91.30%
92.40%
92.60%
NP>Agpa>AG
Tibia
91.00%
93.70%
93.20%
NP>AG>Agpa
Activity
For activity-related skeletal changes, the Nomadic Pastoralists have a
significantly higher rate of cranial fractures than the Agropastoralists (p ≤ 0.001).
The Agricultural group has a significantly higher rate of hip DJD than the
Agropastoralists in the total adult sample (p = 0.047). Of note is the fact that in the
adult female comparison, the Nomadic Pastoral sample has a higher rate of this
condition than do the Agropastoralists.
Age Correlations
Included in this study are several health variables that are likely to have a
strong association with age. That is, the frequency of certain degenerative changes
may increase with age owing to cumulative exposure to insults and risk. The
variables examined include: AMTL, carious lesions, fractures, and joint disease. I
examined the distribution of these pathological conditions within each age cohort to
investigate whether these variables do vary according to age. These age cohorts are
Young Adult (YA), Middle Adult (MA), and Old Adult (OA).
For each variable, the proportion that each age cohort contributed to the total
count of affected adult individuals of a given variable was calculated to determine
161
the influence of differences in age structure on the results (Table 8.10). There is a
pattern of higher frequencies of affected individuals overall in the Young Adult and
Middle Adult categories, which may reflect the age structures of the samples.
Specifically, there were sample size limitations in the Old Adult category from
differential sampling problems as discussed in Chapter 7, so that in samples from all
sites, younger adults were more prevalent. However, where individuals of this
oldest age group were found, they often displayed pathological lesions.
162
Table 8.10. Distribution of affected cases in age cohorts by economic mode
MALE
FEMALE
Marker
#
Affected
AMTL
41 / 94
Cavity
22 / 107
TMJ DJD 13 / 87
Cranial fx 11 / 95
Nasal fx
4 / 67
Upper fx
4 / 129
Lower fx
4 / 167
Shd DJD
14 / 49
13 / 50
Elb DJD
Hip DJD
14 / 87
Knee DJD 22 / 69
AMTL
Cavity
TMJ DJD
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
Upper fx
Lower fx
Shd DJD
Elb DJD
Hip DJD
Knee DJD
76 / 166
82 / 160
22 / 164
5 / 164
1 / 67
6 / 242
11 / 314
26 / 85
35 / 94
18 / 89
51 / 126
AMTL
Cavity
TMJ DJD
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
Upper fx
Lower fx
Shd DJD
Elb DJD
Hip DJD
Knee DJD
3 / 12
3 / 10
3 / 11
1 / 11
1 / 11
0/7
0 / 18
0/2
1/4
4 / 12
5 / 11
YA
MA
OA
#
Affected
YA
MA
OA
Nomadic Pastoral
17%
48 / 89 31% 31% 38%
9%
33 / 97 45% 27% 27%
23%
14 / 83 14% 50% 36%
18%
9 / 96
67%
0%
33%
25%
1 / 64
0% 100% 0%
50%
0%
2 / 116 50%
0%
0%
1 / 165
0% 100% 0%
29%
8 / 40
25% 13% 63%
15%
18 / 46 39% 17% 44%
29%
18 / 82 11% 33% 56%
23%
20 / 70 25% 20% 55%
Agropastoral
28% 64%
8%
79 / 150 24% 53% 23%
32% 61%
7%
93 / 148 35% 44% 20%
32% 64%
5%
24 / 147 17% 67% 17%
20% 80%
0%
1 / 145
0% 100% 0%
0% 100% 0%
0 / 67
N/A N/A N/A
83% 17%
0%
3 / 242 33% 67%
0%
36% 55%
9%
1 / 354
0%
0% 100%
23% 54% 23%
24 / 82 21% 50% 29%
31% 54% 14%
24 / 95 21% 50% 29%
33% 56% 11%
16 / 136 0%
50% 50%
31% 57% 12%
35 / 134 11% 57% 31%
Agricultural
67%
0%
33%
4 / 10
0%
75% 25%
67%
0%
33%
2/6
100% 0%
0%
33% 33% 33%
5 / 10
20% 80%
0%
0% 100% 0%
1 / 10 100% 0%
0%
0%
0% 100%
0/9
N/A N/A N/A
N/A N/A N/A
0/3
N/A N/A N/A
N/A N/A N/A
0/4
N/A N/A N/A
N/A N/A N/A
1/1
0%
0% 100%
100% 0%
0%
1/4
0%
0% 100%
25% 75%
0%
3/6
0%
33% 67%
40% 40% 20%
3/3
0%
67% 33%
37%
59%
31%
45%
50%
75%
75%
21%
38%
29%
36%
46%
32%
46%
36%
25%
25%
25%
50%
46%
43%
41%
163
The percentage of affected individuals samples within each age cohort were
then examined to determine which age cohort had the highest frequency of a given
pathological condition (Table 8.11). Across all samples, the trend is for higher rates
of affected individuals in the older age categories (Middle Adult and Old Adult),
such as found in the indicators of dental disease and joint disease. However, with
respect to fractures, there are some instances of higher frequencies of some forms of
fractures in the younger age categories.
164
Table 8.11. Pathological conditions among economic groups within each age cohort
MALE
Cases %YA Cases % MA Cases % OA
Marker
Nomadic Pastoral
AMTL
15 / 59 25% 19 / 27 15% 7 / 8 88%
Cavity
13 / 70 19% 7 / 28 11% 2 / 9 22%
TMJ DJD 4 / 53 8% 6 / 28 21% 3 / 6 50%
Cranial fx 5 / 59 8% 4 / 27 15% 2 / 9 22%
Nasal fx
2 / 42 5% 1 / 19 5% 1 / 6 17%
Upper fx
3 / 86 3% 1 / 28 4% 0 / 15 0%
Lower fx
3 / 103 3% 1 / 48 2% 0 / 16 0%
Shd DJD
3 / 30 10% 7 / 14 50% 4 / 5 80%
Elb DJD
5 / 32 16% 6 / 13 46% 2 / 5 40%
Hip DJD
4 / 55 7% 6 / 24 25% 4 / 8 50%
Knee DJD 8 / 43 19% 9 / 19 47% 5 / 7 71%
Agropastoral
AMTL
21 / 80 26% 49 / 76 64% 6 / 10 60%
Cavity
26 / 77 34% 50 / 74 68% 6 / 9 67%
TMJ DJD 7 / 77 9% 14 / 77 18% 1 / 10 10%
Cranial fx 1 / 76 1% 4 / 78 5% 0 / 10 0%
Nasal fx
0 / 32 0% 1 / 32 3% 0 / 3 0%
Upper fx
5 / 127 4% 1 / 93 1% 0 / 22 0%
Lower fx
4 /156 3% 6 / 138 4% 1 / 20 5%
Shd DJD
6 / 45 13% 14 / 32 44% 6 / 8 75%
Elb DJD
11 / 50 22% 19 / 36 53% 5 / 8 63%
Hip DJD
6 / 47 13% 10 / 34 29% 2 / 8 25%
Knee DJD 16 / 61 26% 29 / 57 51% 6 / 8 75%
Agricultural
AMTL
2 / 8 25% 0 / 2 0% 1 / 2 50%
Cavity
2 / 7 29% 0 / 1 0% 1 / 2 50%
TMJ DJD
1 / 8 13% 1 / 1 100% 1 / 2 50%
Cranial fx
0 / 7 0% 1 / 2 50% 0 / 2 0%
Nasal fx
0 / 8 0% 0 / 1 0% 1 / 2 50%
Upper fx
0 / 7 0% 0 / 0 0% 0 / 0 0%
Lower fx
0 / 14 0% 0 / 3 0% 0 / 1 0%
Shd DJD
0 / 2 0% 0 / 0 0% 0 / 0 0%
Elb DJD
1 / 4 25% 0 / 0 0% 0 / 0 0%
Hip DJD
1 / 7 14% 3 / 4 75% 0 / 1 0%
Knee DJD
2 / 8 25% 2 / 2 100% 1 / 1 100%
165
(Table 8.11 continued)
Marker
Cases
AMTL
Cavity
TMJ DJD
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
Upper fx
Lower fx
Shd DJD
Elb DJD
Hip DJD
Knee DJD
15 / 41
15 / 50
2 / 37
6 / 47
0 / 30
1 / 59
0 / 82
2 / 19
7 / 23
2 / 38
5 / 35
AMTL
Cavity
TMJ DJD
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
Upper fx
Lower fx
Shd DJD
Elb DJD
Hip DJD
Knee DJD
19 / 69
33 / 69
4 / 68
0 / 69
0 / 33
1 / 100
0 / 144
5 / 37
5 / 39
0 / 53
4 / 56
AMTL
Cavity
TMJ DJD
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
Upper fx
Lower fx
Shd DJD
Elb DJD
Hip DJD
Knee DJD
0/4
2/3
1/4
1/4
0/4
0/0
0/0
0/0
0/0
1/0
0/0
FEMALE
%YA Cases % MA Cases
Nomadic Pastoral
37% 15 / 22 68% 18 / 26
30% 9 / 25 36% 9 / 22
5% 7 / 23 30% 5 / 23
13% 0 / 22 0% 3 / 27
0% 1 / 14 7% 0 / 20
2% 0 / 22 0% 1 / 35
0% 1 / 40 3% 0 / 43
11% 1 / 8 13% 5 / 13
30% 3 / 10 30% 8 / 13
5% 6 / 22 27% 10 / 22
14% 4 / 17 24% 11 / 18
Agropastoral
28% 42/ 60 70% 18 / 21
48% 41 / 58 71% 19 / 21
6% 16 / 59 27% 4 / 20
0% 1 / 58 2% 0 / 18
0% 0 / 23 0% 0 / 11
1% 2 / 110 2% 0 / 32
0% 0 / 142 0% 1 / 68
14% 12 / 32 38% 7 / 13
13% 12 / 42 29% 7 / 14
0% 8 / 57 14% 8 / 26
7% 20 / 53 38% 11 /25
Agricultural
0% 3 / 5 60% 1 / 1
67% 0 / 2 0% 0 / 1
25% 4 / 5 80% 0 / 1
25% 0 / 5 0% 0 / 1
0% 0 / 4 0% 0 / 1
0% 0 / 4 0% 0 / 3
0% 0 / 0 0% 0 / 3
0% 0 / 1 0% 1 / 1
0% 0 / 0 0% 1 / 1
0% 1 / 2 50% 2 / 3
0% 2 / 2 100% 1 / 1
166
% OA
69%
41%
22%
11%
0%
3%
0%
38%
62%
45%
61%
86%
90%
20%
0%
0%
0%
1%
54%
50%
31%
44%
100%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
100%
100%
67%
100%
In the following section, the comparisons of each age cohort by mode of
subsistence are described, referring to results in Table 8.10 (see Appendix, Table
A8.3 for results of statistical tests). Males are considered first, so that comparisons
among Young Adult males from each economic group in paleopathological markers
are discussed, followed by Middle Adult males, and Old Adult males. The same
order applies in the description of female age cohorts. Significant results are
highlighted, as are trends in finds, even if not at the level of significance.
Males
Among the males of the Young Adult cohort, the three economic groups
differ significantly only in the rate of carious lesions, where the rate of Agropastoral
males with carious lesions is significantly higher than that of Nomadic Pastoral
males (p = 0.041). While not at the level of significance, Young Adult nomads have
a higher rate than the other two groups in the rate of cranial trauma (p = 0.086 when
compared to the Agropastoral sample). However, the trend in oral health is for a
greater rate of AMTL, cavities, and TMJ disease in the Agropastoral and
Agricultural groups, while the Nomadic Pastoral sample has greater rates of nearly
all types of fractures observed (except fractures of the upper limbs). The rates of
degenerative changes the four joints are generally higher in the Agropastoral and
Agricultural groups.
Among Middle Adult males, there is a significant difference in the rate of
individuals with carious lesions. Agropastoral males of that age group have a
greater frequency (68%) of carious lesions compared to the Nomadic Pastoral group
167
(11%, p ≤ 0.001), while the Agricultural group has no cases of cavities. The Middle
Adult Agropastoral group also has a greater frequency of AMTL than the other two
groups with 64% versus 15% in the Nomadic Pastoral group, and 0% in the
Agricultural group. In general, there are few Middle Adult males for observation in
the Agricultural group, while the Agropastoral and Nomadic Pastoral samples share
similar frequencies of joint disease and fractures, though the nomads have a higher
rate of cranial trauma (if we ignore the single observation of an Agricultural
cranium, which does have a fracture).
There are no significant differences among the male groups in the Old Adult
cohort, but the Nomadic Pastoral group has a higher rate of AMTL, while carious
lesions are higher in the Agropastoral group. Fractures are somewhat rare, but
cranial fractures are highest (22%) in nomads, while the rates of DJD are generally
high in all groups (hip DJD is highest among Nomadic Pastoral males, while
Agropastoral males have a higher rate of elbow DJD). Again, there were few
observations from the Agricultural sample, but where available, their Old Adult
individuals were affected.
Females
Among females of the Young Adult cohort, the Agricultural group has the
highest rate (25%), but owing to the small sample size it is not at the level of
significance (p = 0.457). Also not at the level of significance, Nomadic Pastoral
females have a greater rate of AMTL (37%) than the other two groups, but the
Agricultural females have the highest rate of cavities (67%) and the highest rate of
168
TMJ osteoarthritis (25%). Nomadic Pastoral Young Adult females have a
significantly higher rate (13%, p = 0.036) of cranial fractures than do the
Agropastoral females (0%). Other degenerative changes and fractures are relatively
rare in all groups of Young Adult females.
In Middle Adult comparisons of females, there are two findings at the level
of signficance. With respect to oral health, Agropastoral females have a
significantly higher rate of carious lesions (71%, p = 0.006) than the Nomadic
Pastoral group (36%. The Agricultural group has a significantly greater rate of TMJ
disease (80%, p = 0.030) than the Agropastoral sample (27%). The rates of AMTL
are similar among all groups of Middle Adult females (60-70%). Fractures are
generally rare occurrences in all groups, with the cases mostly in the Nomadic
Pastoral and Agropastoral samples. While not at the level of significance, the
Agropastoral group has a greater rate of shoulder DJD (38%) than Nomadic
Pastoral females (13%), and no cases in the Agricultural group. The latter group has
the highest rates of joint disease in the hip and knee despite small samples sizes (1/2
and 2/2 affected cases respectively).
Among Older Adult females, indicators of oral disease were generally
higher in the Agropastoral group, which has a significantly higher rate of carious
lesions (90%, p = 0.001) than the Nomadic Pastoral group (41%). The Nomadic
Pastoral group also has a greater frequency of cranial fractures (11%) than both
other samples, though not at the level of significance. While in general there were
few Old Adult Agricultural samples, this group does have the highest rates of DJD
169
in the all limb joints, while Nomadic Pastoral females have higher rates of DJD
compared to Agropastoral females in all joints except the shoulder.
Level of Imperial Influence
The following section presents the results of comparisons between samples
that lived under different periods of imperial influence. These samples all derive
from the “Inner” zone near Chinese borders such as the defensive long walls and the
eventual Great Wall that marked the limits of Chinese control. The Pre-imperial
sample consists of the Jinggouzi collection of the North-central Nomadic Pastoral
people from Inner Mongolia. The Early Imperial sample derives from the
Lamadong North-eastern Agropastoral burial population from Manchuria. The
Middle Imperial sample consists of the pooled Yuan Dynasty sample from Inner
Mongolia, a mixture of North-eastern and North-central Agricultural people.
I compared the juvenile, male, and female groups in the health, diet, and
activity paleopathological markers (Table 8.12) and with respect to group means of
adult long bone lengths (Table 8.13). Within each discussion of compared period of
influence (i.e., Pre- vs. Early Imperial, Pre- vs. Middle Imperial, Early vs. Middle
Imperial), I start with results pertaining to comparisons of the juvenile samples,
followed by males, and then females. The results of tests for levels of significance
for paleopathological variables are located in the Appendix (Table A8.5), as are the
results of statistical tests conducted on long bone lengths (Table A8.6). One
constraint to the statistical power of analysis to bear in mind is the relatively small
sample size from the Middle Imperial period.
170
Table 8.12. Frequencies of health variables by level of imperial influence by time
Pre-imperial
AMTL
Cavity
EH
Tib osteoperi
PH
CO
Limb fx/indiv
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
Cases
0/6
0 / 17
0 / 10
0 / 19
0 / 36
2 / 28
0 / 31
0 / 38
0/3
%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
7%
0%
0%
0%
AMTL
Cavity
TMJ DJD
EH
Tib osteoperi
PH
CO
Limb fx/indiv
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
Shoulder DJD
Elbow DJD
Hip DJD
Knee DJD
Cases
0/4
0 / 17
0/3
0 / 15
0 / 23
0 / 10
0/9
4 / 27
0 / 11
0/9
2 / 18
2 / 18
2 / 24
4 / 25
%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
15%
0%
0%
11%
11%
8%
16%
AMTL
Cavity
TMJ DJD
EH
Tib osteoperi
PH
CO
Limb fx/indiv
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
Shoulder DJD
Elbow DJD
Hip DJD
Knee DJD
Cases
5 / 11
2 / 24
1/8
0 / 21
0 / 19
0 / 17
1 / 15
3 / 29
5 / 18
0 / 12
1 / 16
2 / 19
0 / 26
1 / 27
%
45%
8%
13%
0%
0%
0%
7%
10%
28%
0%
6%
11%
0%
4%
Early Imperial
JUVENILES
Cases
%
3 / 42
7%
5 / 40
13%
3 / 23
13%
0 / 21
0%
1 / 35
3%
11 / 36
31%
0 / 31
0%
0 / 37
0%
0 / 23
0%
MALE
Cases
%
85 / 180
47%
87 / 173
50%
22 / 175
13%
18 / 158
11%
10 / 150
7%
1 / 169
1%
18 / 161
11%
18 / 177
10%
5 / 174
3%
2 / 67
3%
31 / 100
31%
42 / 112
38%
21 / 153
14%
60 / 155
39%
FEMALE
Cases
%
88 / 170
52%
105 / 168 63%
26 / 161
16%
15 / 151
10%
8 / 160
5%
2 / 163
1%
22 / 145
15%
4 / 176
2%
1 / 162
1%
0 / 70
0%
25 / 90
28%
24 / 104
23%
16 / 156
10%
43 / 159
27%
171
Middle Imperial
Cases
0/3
0/3
0/1
0/2
0/2
0/2
0/2
0/2
0/2
%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
Cases
3 / 10
3 / 10
3 / 10
0/9
0/5
0 / 10
0 / 10
1/9
0/9
1 / 10
0/1
2/3
4 / 12
7 / 11
%
30%
30%
30%
0%
0%
0%
0%
11%
0%
10%
0%
67%
33%
64%
Cases
4/9
2/8
4/9
3/8
0/3
0/7
0/7
1/7
1/7
0/7
2/2
2/2
4 / 11
4/8
%
44%
25%
44%
38%
0%
0%
0%
14%
14%
0%
100%
100%
36%
50%
Table 8.13. Mean long bone lengths (in cm) by period of imperial influence
HUMERUS
FEMUR
TIBIA
#
M
#
F
#
M
#
F
#
M
#
F
Pre-Imperial
3 31.67 2 28.48 19 43.08 24 39.58 7 35.29 8 32.02
Early Imperial
84 31.1 75 29.01 133 43.72 141 40.38 124 34.63 132 32.45
Middle Imperial 1 33.5 2 28.50 9 43.63 8 39.79 5 35.39 3 32.25
Pre-imperial vs. Early Imperial
Juveniles of the different periods of Pre- and Early Imperial control differ
significantly in one marker, cribra orbitalia. The Early Imperial sample has a higher
frequency of cribra orbitalia (37%, p = 0.011) than the Pre-imperial sample (7%). In
all other markers, the Pre-imperial juvenile sample has no cases of affected
individuals.
Among adult males of these two periods, the Pre-imperial sample has a
greater frequency of affected cases in only one variable, long bone fractures (15%
vs. 10% in Early Imperial), which is not at the level of significance. In all other
variables observed, the Early Imperial has higher incidences. In particular, the Early
Imperial sample has significantly greater frequencies of carious lesions (p ≤ 0.001)
and DJD of the elbow (p = 0.032) and knee (p = 0.041). There are no significant
differences between males in the group mean lengths of the humerus, femur, or
tibia, though the Pre-imperial sample has slightly longer mean lengths of the femur
and tibia.
Among the adult females under comparison, the Early Imperial sample has
significantly greater rates of carious lesions (p ≤ 0.001), and DJD of the shoulder (p
= 0.048) and knee (p = 0.006). The rates of AMTL and TMJ disease are slightly
172
higher in the Early Imperial sample, as are non-specific markers of stress and rates
of degenerative joint disease (not at level of significance). The Pre-imperial sample
has higher rates of long bone fractures and has a significantly higher incidence of
cranial trauma (p ≤ 0.001; Table 8.14). There is no significant difference in
comparisons between humeral group means, nor tibial means, but the femoral group
mean of the Early Imperial sample (x̄ = 40.38cm) is significantly greater than that
of the Pre-imperial sample (x̄ = 39.58cm, t = -2.266, d.f., 163, p = 0.025).
Table 8.14. Cranial trauma (5/18, 28%) in the Pre-imperial Jinggouzi female sample
Age
YA
YA
YA
OA
*OA
Side
L
R
L
R
1) L
2) L
3) L
Bone
Frontal
Parietal/occipital
Parietal
Parietal
Parietal
Parietal
Parietal
Trauma
Cut
Cut
Depressed fx
Cut
Depressed fx
Depressed fx
Depressed fx
State
Healed
Healed
Healed
Healed
Healed
Healed
Healed
Weapon
Blade
Blade
Blunt
Blade
Blunt
Blunt
Blunt
*Three depressed fractures in this Old Adult female
Pre-imperial vs. Middle Imperial
Within the juvenile samples of these two periods, there are no significant
differences in any of the variables observed. It must be noted that in nearly all of
these variables, the Middle Imperial juvenile sample did not have any affected
individuals, perhaps owing to the small sample size.
Middle Imperial adult males have significantly higher rates of carious
lesions (p = 0.041) and knee DJD (p = 0.008). Though not at the level of
significance, the Middle Imperial sample has higher rates in all other variables
except long bone fractures and shoulder osteoarthritis.
173
In the comparison of females, Middle Imperial females have a greater
frequency of enamel hypoplasia that is at the level of significance (p = 0.015), as
well as significantly greater rates of DJD in the shoulder (p = 0.020), elbow (p =
0.029), hip (p = 0.005), and knee (p = 0.006). The group also has slightly higher
rates of carious lesions, TMJ disease, and long bone fractures, while the rates of
cribra orbitalia and cranial trauma are somewhat higher in the Pre-imperial group.
In the comparison of group means of limb measures, there are no significant
differences between Pre-imperial and Middle Imperial samples in mean lengths in
any of the bones. This lack of significant differences is true for comparisons
between both the male samples and female samples of each period.
Early Imperial vs. Middle Imperial
In the comparison of juveniles of these two time periods, there are no
significant differences in any of the variables observed. Again, the small sample
size of the Middle Imperial period must be considered.
Among adult males, there are also no differences in frequencies of health
variables that are at the level of significance. Despite the lack of statistical
significance, the Early Imperial male sample does have greater rates of AMTL and
carious lesions, as well as non-specific markers of stress, while the rates of fractures
are similar between periods. Joint disease is higher in the Middle Imperial sample
except for the shoulder.
Among adult females, the Early Imperial sample has a significantly higher
frequency of carious lesions (p = 0.05) and a slightly higher rate of AMTL. While
174
not quite at the level of significance, the Middle Imperial female sample also has a
greater rate of TMJ disease (p = 0.053). In markers of non-specific stress, the
Middle Imperial sample has greater rates of enamel hypoplasia (p = 0.048), while
the Early period has greater rates of osteoperiostitis and cranial porosities (not at
level of significance). The Middle Imperial period has greater rates of DJD in
general (note small sample size), which is significant for the hip DJD (p = 0.029),
and close to significant in the elbow DJD (p = 0.058).
The differences in group mean lengths of the humerus, tibia, and femur for
comparisons within both the male and female samples of the Early Imperial and
Middle Imperial period are not at the level of significance. There is no consistent
pattern to which period has greater body size based on the individual elements.
Inner Zone vs. Outer Zone
The “Inner” zone comprises those sites located in the northeast by the Great
Wall (or long walls that preceded it in the case of Pre-imperial collections). These
Inner zone samples are divided by time period. One is the site of Jinggouzi, the
North-central Nomadic Pastoral sample, which is from the Pre-imperial era. The
second comes from the Early Imperial era site of Lamadong from Inner Mongolia,
which is a North-eastern Agropastoral sample.
The “Outer” zone samples derive from Xinjiang to the northwest. Outer
zone samples consist of the pooled Nomadic Pastoral Iron Age samples; these span
175
the Pre-imperial to Early Imperial era 1 . Note the differences in region of origin and
mode of economy between all Inner and Outer zone samples, which have been
addressed in other statistical tests previously. These regional and economic
differences may also account for, or at least contribute to, any differences between
Inner and Outer zone comparisons seen in these results.
As in the previous section, results for comparisons are presented in the
following order of juveniles, males, and females within the discussion of Inner zone
Pre-imperial vs. Outer zone and Inner zone Early Imperial vs. Outer zone.
Frequencies of observed variables are found in Table 8.15 (statistical results in the
Appendix, Table A8.7), while long bone measures are presented in Table 8.16 and
statistical results of those comparisons located in the Appendix (Table A8.8).
1
The Bronze Age sample is excluded because it was too small and preceded the imperial age in
China, while it is the purpose of this section to examine Outer zone interaction in the imperial age.
Likewise, the Middle Imperial sample was not included because it exceeded the time period of those
in the Outer zone. The Outer zone samples overlapped with the range of dates in the Pre-imperial
Jinggouzi and Early Imperial Lamadong sites of the Inner Zone.
176
Table 8.15. Frequencies of health variables by imperial influence and zone
AMTL
Cavity
EH
Tib osteoperi
PH
CO
Limb fx/indiv
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
AMTL
Cavity
TMJ DJD
EH
Tib osteoperi
PH
CO
Limb fx/indiv
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
Shoulder DJD
Elbow DJD
Hip DJD
Knee DJD
AMTL
Cavity
TMJ DJD
EH
Tib osteoperi
PH
CO
Limb fx/indiv
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
Shoulder DJD
Elbow DJD
Hip DJD
Knee DJD
INNER ZONE
INNER ZONE
Pre-Imp. (N.Past) Early Imp. (Agpa)
JUVENILES
Cases
%
Cases
%
0/6
0%
3 / 42
7%
0 / 17
0%
5 / 40
13%
0 / 10
0%
3 / 23
13%
0 / 19
0%
0 / 21
0%
0 / 36
0%
1 / 35
3%
2 / 28
7%
11 / 36
31%
0 / 31
0%
0 / 31
0%
0 / 38
0%
0 / 37
0%
0/3
0%
0 / 23
0%
MALE
%
Cases
%
Cases
0/4
0%
85 / 180
47%
0 / 17
0%
87 / 173
50%
0/3
0%
22 / 175
13%
0 / 15
0%
18 / 158
11%
0 / 23
0%
10 / 150
7%
0 / 10
0%
1 / 169
1%
0/9
0%
18 / 161
11%
4 / 27
15%
18 / 177
10%
0 / 11
0%
5 / 174
3%
0/9
0%
2 / 67
3%
2 / 18
11%
31 / 100
31%
2 / 18
11%
42 / 112
38%
2 / 24
8%
21 / 153
14%
4 / 25
16%
60 / 155
39%
FEMALE
%
Cases
%
Cases
5 / 11
45%
88 / 170
52%
2 / 24
8%
105 / 168 63%
1/8
13%
26 / 161
16%
0 / 21
0%
15 / 151
10%
0 / 19
0%
8 / 160
5%
0 / 17
0%
2 / 163
1%
1 / 15
7%
22 / 145
15%
3 / 29
10%
4 / 176
2%
5 / 18
28%
1 / 162
1%
0 / 12
0%
0 / 70
0%
1 / 16
6%
25 / 90
28%
2 / 19
11%
24 / 104
23%
0 / 26
0%
16 / 156
10%
1 / 27
4%
43 / 159
27%
177
OUTER ZONE
(Nomadic Past.)
Cases
0 / 42
2 / 40
3 / 23
1 / 21
0 / 35
13 / 36
0 / 31
1 / 37
0 / 23
%
0%
5%
13%
5%
0%
36%
0%
3%
0%
Cases
34 / 65
17 / 65
13 / 61
6 / 57
1 / 37
2 / 59
9 / 56
4 / 57
11 / 58
4 / 51
15 / 31
14 / 34
10 / 54
23 / 52
%
52%
26%
21%
11%
3%
3%
16%
7%
19%
8%
48%
41%
19%
44%
Cases
33 / 54
20 / 53
10 / 54
1 / 46
2 / 33
0 / 51
9 / 52
1 / 44
2 / 51
1 / 43
5 / 24
13 / 25
14 / 45
14 / 40
%
61%
38%
19%
2%
6%
0%
17%
2%
4%
2%
21%
52%
31%
35%
Table 8.16. Mean long bone lengths (in cm) by proximity to imperial influence
Pre-imp/Inner
Early Imp/Inner
Outer Zone
HUMERUS
FEMUR
TIBIA
#
M
#
F
#
M
#
F
#
M
#
F
3 31.67 2 28.48 19 43.08 24 39.58 7 35.29 8 32.02
84 31.1 75 29.01 133 43.72 141 40.38 124 34.63 132 32.45
29 31.93 24 29.37 46 45.09 34 41.29 34 36.62 31 33.52
Pre-imperial Inner Zone vs. Outer Zone
Among juveniles of these two zones, there is only one instance of a
significant difference between the two. Juveniles from the Outer zone have a greater
rate of cribra orbitalia (36%, p = 0.008) than the Pre-imperial Inner zone sample
(7%). The Outer zone juvenile sample also has higher rates of cavities and markers
of non-specific stress (enamel hypoplasia and osteoperiostitis), though not at the
level of significance.
In the comparison of adult males, the Outer zone sample has a significantly
greater prevalence of carious lesions (p = 0.017). Though not at the level of
significance, the Outer zone male sample also has higher rates in indicators of
dietary paleopathological markers in general, as well as markers of non-specific
stress, except osteoperiostitis. The incidence of cranial trauma is more frequent in
the Inner zone (see Appendix, Figure A8.1), while joint disease is more frequent in
the Outer zone, significant in DJD of the shoulder (p = 0.012), elbow (p = 0.031),
and knee (p = 0.021). In comparisons of group mean length of bones in males, the
Outer zone mean femur length (x̄ = 45.09cm) is significantly longer relative to the
Inner zone (x̄ = 43.08cm, t = -3.272, d.f. 63, p = 0.002). The Outer zone male
178
sample likewise has greater mean humeral and tibial lengths, though not at the level
of significance.
Females of the Outer zone have higher rates of dietary and non-specific
stress markers. The Pre-imperial Inner zone has a greater rate of long bone fractures
and a significantly higher rate of cranial trauma in comparison with the Outer zone
females (p = 0.011; Figure 8.1). The Outer zone females have significantly greater
rates of DJD in the elbow (p = 0.005), hip (p = 0.001), and knee (p = 0.003). While
there are no significant differences in humeral and tibial group mean lengths, the
Outer zone sample has a significantly longer femur length (x̄ = 41.29cm) compared
to the Inner zone sample (x̄ = 39.58cm, t= -3.231, d.f. 56, p = 0.002).
Figure 8.1. Cranial trauma in Pre-imperial Inner zone females
Early Imperial Inner Zone vs. Outer Zone
In the comparison of juvenile samples from these two zones, there are no
significant differences in paleopathological markers between Nomadic Pastoral
juveniles of the Iron Age Outer zone and the Agropastoral sample from the Early
179
Imperial Inner zone. The Inner zone has somewhat higher rates of markers of dental
disease, while the Outer zone has slightly higher rates of cribra orbitalia and
osteoperiostitis.
The comparison of the Inner zone sample of males with those of the Outer
zone shows similar rates of AMTL, though the former has a significantly higher rate
of carious lesions (p = 0.001), while the Outer zone has a slightly greater frequency
TMJ disease (not significant). With respect to non-specific stress, the Inner zone
males have a greater rate of osteoperiostitis, but males of the Outer zone have
greater frequencies of cranial porosities, though not at the level of significance.
While the Inner zone sample has a somewhat higher incidence of long bone
fractures, the Outer zone group has a significantly higher rate of cranial trauma (p =
0.002) and a slightly higher rate of nasal fractures (not significant). With respect to
the comparison mean length of limbs, the Outer zone sample has significantly
greater mean lengths in the humerus (t = -2.881, d.f. 110, p = 0.005), femur (t = 4.005, d.f. 177, p ≤ 0.001), and tibia (t = -5.681, d.f. 156, p ≤ 0.001).
The comparison of females of the Early Imperial Inner zone to the Outer
zone shows higher rates of AMTL and TMJ disease in the latter group, but
significantly more frequent carious lesions in the Inner zone (p = 0.002). There is a
somewhat higher frequency of enamel hyperplasia in the Inner zone, but similar
rates between the two zones in the other stress markers (osteoperiostitis and cranial
porosities). Also not at the level of significance, females of the Inner zone exhibit a
higher rate of long bone fractures, while those of the Outer zone have more frequent
180
cranial and nasal trauma. With respect to osteoarthritis, the Outer zone has a greater
rate of joint disease, with a significantly higher rate of DJD in the elbow (p = 0.007)
and hip (p = 0.001). The comparison of the group means of the humerus shows no
significant difference between the Inner and Outer zone female samples. However,
the Outer zone sample has significantly longer group mean length of the femur (x̄ =
41.29cm) compared to the Inner zone sample (x̄ = 40.38cm, t = -2.690, d.f. 173, p
=0 .008), as well as the tibia (t = -3.467, d.f. 31, p = 0.001).
Conclusion
This chapter has described the results of the second stage of analysis, where
inter-group comparisons in diet, health, and markers of activity and trauma are used
to address the major hypotheses of this study. The groups compared include those
pooled by region to examine possible local variability, those of different economic
modes to test the influence of subsistence strategies on health, and finally those
from different time periods and from different geographical proximity to the
Chinese core to assess health consequences of varied levels of imperial influence.
Within each of these groups, comparisons were made based on age and sex, so that
appropriate measures of the differential frequencies of these independent variables
could be made upon these subsets of society.
The next chapter provides the discussion of these results with respect to the
research hypotheses of frontier interaction. Following that are conclusions and final
interpretations of these findings.
181
Chapter 9: Discussion
In this study I have analyzed bioarchaeological data to measure the health
effects of the hypothesized stress associated with interregional frontier interaction
between agricultural China and the northern nomadic pastoralists, including
correlations with subsistence mode and violent conflict between groups. This
research has had two major aims: 1) to examine the extent to which the practice of
differing economic strategies discriminately affected the body in paleopathological
markers, and 2) to determine the health impact upon peripheral and frontier
societies associated with the level of imperial (that is, Chinese) influence as
measured over different time periods and geographic distances. With respect to the
latter consideration I assessed the health consequences that increases in
sociopolitical complexity and agricultural dependence had for people living along
the Chinese frontier. I also explored possible differences in the frequency of these
health indicators among men, women and children to assess possible sex and agerelated differences in resource access and activity patterns.
Regional Variations?
The skeletal samples examined in this study derive from sites that span great
distances from each other, in areas that are diverse ecologically. Owing in large part
to the geographic distances between these regional groups, they differ in cultural
adaptations, including subsistence strategy, and also possibly different ancestral
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affinities. In this study, the different regional populations vary in several health
variables. The phenotypic expression of specific traits as well as the predispositions
for developing specific pathological conditions result from complex gene–
environment interactions. Nevertheless, most of this regional variability appears to
be the product not of genetic differences between populations, but instead of
culturally mediated environmental factors including mode of subsistence and
culturally determined differences in resource access.
Males and females in the North-eastern pooled population have significantly
higher caries rates than do their counterparts in the North-western and North-central
regions. Although it is possible that North-eastern populations may have had some
inherently greater susceptibility (Mandel 1994) to tooth decay, the finding in this
analysis is likely to be primarily a reflection of subsistence mode (see more detailed
discussion below). That is, the North-eastern group is comprised solely of
populations that practiced agropastoralism and agriculture, so their diet likely
included more cariogenic foods than the other populations (which consist primarily
of nomadic samples). Likewise, the fact that the North-central population has a
relatively high rate of AMTL (comparable to the North-eastern population) and the
highest rate of TMJ disease is more likely to reflect the large proportion of
pastoralists in the group and the masticatory stress and attrition (from chewing less
processed food and/or use of teeth in processing or craft production) associated with
this lifestyle than it is a reflection of any genetic predisposition.
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Another important difference is the significantly greater rate of enamel
hypoplasia found in the North-central male sample compared to males from the
other regions, and females from their own population. This finding may be related
in part to a greater sensitivity of males than females to developmental disruption
(Hamilton 1982; Stini 1969; but cf. Stinson 1985). However this does not fully
explain the population differences found, where rates of osteoperiostitis and cranial
porotic lesions are similar among the regional groups in both males and females.
Thus, it seems likely that this regional (and sexually dimorphic) difference in
enamel hypoplasia is a result of cultural forces that differentially expose boys to
environmental stressors in pastoral communities in particular, as discussed below.
Activity patterns associated with traumatic injuries and degenerative skeletal
changes also show significant population differences. While North-central females
had higher frequencies of long bone fractures compared to the North-eastern female
cohort, and a greater frequency of cranial fractures than both other groups, the same
was not true among males. The North-western males had the greatest rate of cranial
trauma, relative to the North-eastern male sample, while the North-central males
had no cases of head trauma. From these comparisons, the fact that there is no
consistency within the sexes of a given region and their relationship to the
corresponding sex cohort in other regions suggests the lack of a genetic correlation.
Thus, risk of fracture is more a product of environmental circumstances than
genetic predisposition within pooled regional groups.
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The three regional groups differ significantly in group means of average
femur and tibia lengths for both males and females. The results here show that
North-western males and females have longer leg bones than do the other regional
populations. This result is not surprising given the greater average height of Northwestern “Caucasian-type” 1 populations compared to eastern Asian populations
from studies of modern populations, which also show that while modern Chinese
are shorter, they have relatively longer total arm length (Baten n.d.; Eveleth and
Tanner 1990:224-235). From a selected survey of Asian and European stature data,
the taller average height of Europeans has been a prehistoric trend for several
millennia (Walker and Eng 2007).
Variation in growth is due to the combined interaction of hereditary and
environmental factors (nutrition, disease, and other stresses). So although body size
is strongly influenced by environment, in comparison to other health-related
variables recorded in this study, genetic factors are likely to explain a relatively
large proportion of the variance in long bone lengths. Comparisons of regional
differences in mean long bone lengths seem to support the existence of regional
differences in growth and adult height along the northern frontier, with greater
average height among North-western populations. However, nutrition also plays a
fundamental role in growth and it must be remembered that nomadic pastoral
populations in the North-western group may have had a diet with higher intakes of
1
As discussed in Chapter 5, craniometric studies show that populations in Xinjiang have affinity to
those from Central Asia, who traditionally have been classified as “Caucasoid” based on
morphological characteristics that are similar to those of people with European ancestral affinities.
185
nutrients essential to attainment of maximum genetic growth potential, as well as
lowered disease load from a mobile lifestyle. Thus, differences between groups in
this study may have been heavily influenced by variation in subsistence strategy and
concomitant differences in sociopolitical factors, as is discussed next.
Nomadic Pastoral and Agricultural Comparisons
Having addressed the possibility that differences between populations are a
consequence of regional differences among populations in this study, remaining
factors that can account for differences among groups are cultural conditions such
as economic and sociopolitical differences. The expectation of this study is that the
external forces of economic mode and imperial influence (as discussed after this
section) greatly impacted diet, health, and skeletal patterns of activity and trauma.
With respect to variations in economic systems, I hypothesized that the
subsistence strategies of pastoral nomads and sedentary agriculturalists would result
in bioarchaeologically detectable differences in related dietary, health status, and
activity patterns. The Agropastoral population was expected to display results that
are somewhat intermediate between that of agriculturalists and pastoralists owing to
their participation in both economic strategies. I also expected differences between
the sexes owing to sex-based division of labor and differential access to resources.
In addition, several paleopathological variables examined are those whose
rates are strongly correlated with age. These include AMTL, carious lesions,
fractures, and osteoarthritis. I thus expected differences between age groups in the
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frequency of such variables. It should be noted that the Agricultural sample size is
relatively small compared to the other groups, so although I used Fisher’s Exact
Test to address this limitation in sample size, there are many instances of zero cases
of affected Agricultural individuals. Similarly, although it is expected that the
incidences of these pathological conditions would increase with age, the smaller
samples of Older Adults in all populations may account for the lower frequencies of
affected individuals than expected.
Diet
I hypothesized that the Agriculturalists, who are dependent upon cultivated
cereals and an overall carbohydrate-rich diet, would have higher frequencies of
dental disease than the Nomadic Pastoralists, as would the Agropastoralists to a
lesser extent. Tests show significant differences in the patterns of paleopathological
markers of oral disease in the predicted direction. As per the expectation, there are
disparities in the frequencies of carious lesions and antemortem tooth loss. Among
the juveniles of the three economic modes, these differences are not significant,
possibly due to late weaning ages and/or loss of deciduous teeth for permanent teeth
that had not accumulated tooth decay before death. However, the trend is for lower
rates of cavities and associated AMTL in the Nomadic Pastoral sample relative to
those that practiced agropastoralism. In the total adult population, the Nomadic
Pastoral and Agricultural samples have significantly lower rates of carious lesions
relative to the Agropastoral sample.
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It is surprising that the Agricultural sample experienced about the same
frequencies as the nomads in these two variables of oral health. This finding may be
a result of the limited sample size of Agricultural dental remains, especially
compared to the other samples. Note that in both variables, however, nomads have a
lower frequency of dental disease than compared to samples that practiced some
form of agriculture, which agrees with the expectation.
Also, despite the unexpectedly lower rate of dental disease in the
Agricultural sample, even with its sample size limitation the Agricultural remains
had significantly greater frequencies of TMJ disease than the Nomadic Pastoral and
Agropastoral groups. This result is contrary to expectations that an agrarian diet and
food processing techniques such as milling in farming societies would provide
softer foods and hence, less mechanical masticatory stress. For example, a study
comparing a Neolithic (4000 – 3000 BC) sample from China (n=22) to modern
Chinese populations found that there were higher rates of TMJ disease in the
Neolithic sample (23%) and overall greater robusticity of the jaw, which the authors
suggest is related to diets requiring stronger mastication in early samples (Zeng et
al. 1986).
In this study, perhaps the Agricultural sample used teeth in non-eating
contexts, as “tools” in activities such as food processing and craft production, which
are often female activities (e.g., Larsen 1985). Females in the Agricultural group
have the highest rate of TMJ disease (42% vs. 27% in the males, and 13-17%
among the sexes in the other economic groups), which fits with this possibility.
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With respect to the correlation between age and dental disease, I expected
older individuals in general to have higher rates of oral disease. While it is true that
within each economic group there is an increase in incidence from younger to older
age groups, the degree of increased incidence is sharper in the Nomadic Pastoral
(and to a lesser degree, Agricultural) male sample than the corresponding
Agropastoral group. However, females in all economic groups show a steady
increase of oral disease with increased age, but the increase is sharper in the
Agropastoral and Agricultural groups. This finding suggests that females in groups
that practiced farming suffered more dental disease, while males of these agrarian
communities may have had differential access to foods that were not as cariogenic.
As noted previously in the discussion of nomadic pastoralism in Eurasia
(Chapter 4), herding activities are split by gender so that women are in charge of
milking animals while men care for grazing animals (Barfield 1993:142). It may be
that women had a higher intake of milk than men of their society. It has been shown
that cow milk is not cariogenic (Bowen and Lawrence 2005), so women of pastoral
societies may be expected to have a lower incidence of caries relative to men of the
same pastoral population and relative to agrarian populations. Despite apparent
differences between the sexes, these results support the hypothesis that populations
practicing agriculture have greater oral disease than nomadic pastoralists.
Health and Nutrition
The expectation is that Nomadic Pastoral populations, whose mobility and
high-protein diets may have led to lower disease loads, should display lower
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frequencies of pathological conditions than sedentary agriculturalists who generally
have protein-poor diets and live in crowded conditions. That is, pastoral populations
should have lower rates of indicators of non-specific stress while also greater stature
from overall better health.
Meeting nutritional requirements is important for growth, disease resistance,
and body maintenance. A key nutrient is protein for its multiple uses in the body
including its function to build and repair tissues and act as enzymes that catalyze
reactions. Lactating mothers need a sufficient supply of protein to make colostrum
and breastmilk to feed growing infants and aid in their development of an immune
system (Jelliffe and Jelliffe 1978). It has been shown that colostrum and breastmilk
of humans are comparable in energy and fat with cow milk, but that protein content
of the former is only about a third of that found in cow milk (Stini 1985). Thus
pastoralists and their children would have benefited from that ready, staple
resource. Contrast this with studies of the modern rural Chinese diet, where
weaning begins after 4-6 months and the traditional complementary food has been
watery rice and other grain porridge, which contains less than half of the caloric
density of breastmilk (Guldan 2000).
Indices of nutritional stress and disease show population differences
according to mode of economy. With respect to lesions of the cranial vault and
orbits, only in the comparison of female populations is there a significant
difference, with a higher rate of cribra orbitalia among the Nomadic Pastoral
females than the Agropastoral females. All instances of orbital lesions in adults
190
showed signs of healing, while some found in juveniles were active at death. While
not at the level of significance, when looking at the total adult population, or at the
total population (all age groups), there are higher rates of cribra orbitalia in the
nomads. This finding is against expectations, as Nomadic Pastoral groups were
expected to have more access to essential vitamins and minerals in their diet relative
to Agricultural groups who relied on less diversified diets. Perhaps the Agricultural
people in these samples, most of whom lived under an imperial infrastructure, were
better able to secure food against times of food shortages and from trade within the
imperial system so that they were able to meet nutritional needs more readily than
were the nomads.
Childhood stress as observed through enamel hypoplasia shows that while
comparisons were only significant when conducted between females (greater in
Agricultural samples than the other two economic groups), the overall trend is
consistent with expectations. That is, in the total population counts, the Agricultural
group has a higher frequency of lesions than the Agropastoral group, which in turn
has a greater rate than the Nomadic Pastoral group. Thus, incidence of stress during
development was greater in sedentary groups than those more mobile.
With the shift from a mobile to sedentary lifestyle, the conditions of close
living quarters in denser groups provide more desirable conditions for infectious
pathogens. Sedentism also leads to accumulation of waste products around living
spaces and the lack of sanitation increases risk of infectious diseases including
pathogenic and parasitic ones. Observation of osteoperiostitis in the tibia was
191
analyzed for non-specific infection since it was the bone that most commonly
showed this pathological condition.
While the populations do not differ significantly in frequencies of infection,
the total adult Agropastoral population (as well as separately in male and female
subgroups) has a higher rate of osteoperiostitis than the Nomadic Pastoral
population. This finding is consistent with expectations of increased risk of
infection in more sedentary populations. Note there are no cases within the
Agricultural sample, but again, the small sample size in tibiae for observation
(n=12) and sample bias therein may account for this apparent inconsistency in
expectations. Conversely, the Agropastoral population from Lamadong was one that
lived during a period of political fragmentation (a series of short-lived dynasties,
including foreign courts), which may also account for their higher signs of stress.
A further consideration is that close contact with domesticated animals
results in continuous exposure to new pathogens that may jump species and infect
humans (Brothwell 1967). For example, smallpox and measles are highly infectious
diseases that were probably initially spread from animals to humans. While close
association with animals is true for both nomadic pastoralists and agriculturalists (at
least within a specialized subset that handled livestock), perhaps the combination of
that interaction with animals and a more sedentary life meant diseases spread more
rapidly in the Agropastoral sample than either of the other two, accounting for the
higher rate of osteoperiostits.
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The results of decreased sexual dimorphism in long bone lengths with
increased levels of agriculture (i.e., nomads > agropastoralists > agriculturalists in
sexual dimorphism) appear inconsistent with several studies that have shown that
agrarian populations tend to exhibit a greater degree of sexual dimorphism of
stature than mobile foraging groups. For instance, based on his findings that
agricultural groups off the Georgia coast had a greater degree of dimorphism than
pre-agricultural groups, Larsen (1984) posits that this increase in sexual
dimorphism is associated with increased stress related to agrarian life. However,
Frayer (1980) has suggested that hunting and gathering groups have more division
of labor than in agricultural groups, and thus sexual dimorphism should be more
marked in hunter-gatherer groups.
Perhaps the Nomadic Pastoral and Agropastoral female samples in this study
had relatively higher levels of workload, and possibly malnutrition and other
stresses, which decreased their growth potential. At the same ti me, males may have
been buffered from these stresses by differential access to resources. For example,
males of the pastoral Crow of the American Great Plains were generally tall in the
1800s, but the females relatively short, apparently due to their arduous work
demands to prepare furs for trade (Prince and Steckel 2003; Reinhard et al. 1994).
Thus, the trend for decreased sexual dimorphism in more agrarian populations seen
in the results may be due to the fact that the increasing reliance on an agricultural
lifestyle decreased the stress on agrarian females relative to pastoral females, or
conversely, increased stress on agrarian males during growth and development.
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Further, the Agricultural sample is derived mostly of samples that lived under
imperial control in the Middle Imperial period, which may have meant greater
stability in access to food resources for both sexes relative to samples living during
less politically stable situations, as discussed later.
Activity Patterns and Degenerative Joint Disease
Differences in subsistence activities, for instance horse riding versus
agricultural fieldwork, were expected to result in different patterns of degenerative
joint disease. Two key factors to consider in interpretation of degenerative changes
are differences associated with sexual division of labor and the age structure of the
groups. With respect to the division of labor, some scholars have shown that the
shift from foraging bands to those that practiced farming included increased sexual
dimorphism in osteoarthritis from subsistence-related activities (e.g., Bridges 1991;
see Larsen 1997:176-178). In agrarian societies, males mainly manage large
animals and are active in fieldwork, while female labor is domestically-centered,
with possible exclusion from fields (however, see evidence for an increase in
female activities after the shift from pre-agricultural to Mississippian period in
Hamilton 1982; Pickering 1984). These gendered subsistence activities might result
in a differential pattern in the rate of arthritis based on sex.
The frequencies of degenerative joint disease are overall very similar across
the economic groups. The Agropastoral group does not appear to be “intermediate”
in frequencies relative to the other groups. In the comparison of hip DJD, the total
Agricultural sample has a significantly higher rate relative to the Agropastoral
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sample. However, in the female sample comparisons (vs. total population), hip DJD
is significantly higher in Nomadic Pastoral females relative to Agropastoral
females. Perhaps the higher rate in the pastoral females relates to their more
habitual participation in horse riding as the community migrated.
There are fairly similar rates in DJD of the shoulder and elbow among all
the economic groups in observations of the total population, despite differences in
subsistence activities. In the hip and knee, the total Agricultural population exceeds
rates of DJD found in the other groups, but again, it has a small sample size that
limits meaningful interpretation.
In addition to sample limitations in the Agricultural sample, it must be
remembered that the proportion of adults in the oldest age category for all
collections is relatively low compared to younger adults, which may explain the
relative lack of variation in DJD patterns. Another consideration for these findings,
which do not show any consistent trends, is that the occurrence of joint disease may
be as much a factor of mode of economy as technological innovation. That is, the
three groups not only practiced different food procurement strategies, but also
derive from different time periods, with pastoral ones predominantly from the
Bronze and Iron Age, the Agropastoral sample roughly contemporaneous with the
more recent pastoral Iron Age samples, and the majority of the Agricultural
collections from nearly a millennium following that during the Middle Imperial
period. Within these centuries, many innovations may have altered working
conditions and associated joint problems.
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Trauma and Interpersonal Violence
An expectation is that there is less risk of accidental fractures when a
community is sedentary versus mobile and herding animals. A survey of animal
related injury in a modern rural town in Sweden found that most animal-related
fractures occurred with horses (Björnstig et al. 1991). The majority of horse-related
injuries were caused by falls while riding, which most often led to upper extremity
fractures, followed by injury to the lower extremity and head. Other injuries came
from kicks, trampling, and bites. A study of Hungarian horse riding samples from
the 10th century Conquest period show that the majority of activity-related injuries
were found in males, who also had high frequencies of osteoarthritis of the wrist
and elbow, suggestive of their role as mounted archers (Pálfi and Dutour 1996).
Nomadic Pastoral males in this study were expected to show such types of injuries.
In all samples, fractures of any sort were more common in adults than
juveniles, likely owing to cumulative exposure to dangers, accidental or otherwise.
The long bone fractures were almost all well-healed, simple fractures, and most
were solitary instances within the given individual, which suggests the fractures
were accidental rather than a result of inter-personal violence.
While there is support for the hypothesis that males within any given group
have a higher rate of fractures than females, there are higher rates of fractures
among the Agricultural group’s total adult population than among adults of the
other groups, contrary to expectations. Despite a limited sample size, Agricultural
adults have a higher prevalence of long bone fractures (17%) than the Nomadic
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Pastoral (7%) and Agropastoral (6%) adults. An explanation for this apparent
contradiction may lie in the fact that settled farmers do still deal with domesticated
animals, and studies of modern farmers have shown that most injuries to farmers
were fractures related to animals, which includes falls and injuries from milking
cows and working with bulls (Nordstrom et al. 1995; Stueland et al. 1997).
Sedentism does not shield from chance accidents and injuries; as has been shown
for Dickson Mounds, fracture rates increased from an earlier, less intensive
agricultural phase to the later intensive agricultural period (Goodman et al. 1984) .
The pattern of injury in Nomadic Pastoral samples is similar to clinical
reports of trauma from horseback-riding falls (e.g., Barber 1973). As was expected,
adult males, and particularly younger to middle aged males, have a higher incidence
of fractures. This prevalence may be attributed to the higher likelihood that young
nomadic males had active lifestyles and exposure to more danger including closer
association with animals in subsistence-related activities, as well as interpersonal
violence from inter- and intra-group conflict.
In contrast to the positive correlation with increasing age for arthritis, the
expectation was that younger individuals and males in particular would have more
injuries associated with interpersonal warfare than elderly males. Those who
survived injuries into older ages might have well-healed lesions from youth-related
injuries that may no longer be detectable. I also expected that the Nomadic Pastoral
populations would have higher incidences of trauma associated with interpersonal
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warfare (e.g., cranial and nasal fractures, and signs of injuries from weapons) in
addition to other fractures from a mobile lifestyle (e.g., falls).
There is however, a correlation between settlement size and risk of violent
injury. The aggregation of larger populations such as those found in agrarian
societies may result in increased tension and concomitant social inequalities. These
conditions may lead to conflicts over power or in the protection and expansion of
resources, so that there is a potential for an escalation in the scope of violence with
more densely populated and complex societies (e.g., increased levels of violence
from the Neolithic to era of kingdoms in China, Underhill 2006).
In general, cranial fractures are more prevalent in the Young Adult Nomadic
Pastoral group than in any other age category, and the majority of these injuries are
perimortem (see Appendix, Figure A8.1). This finding accords with the expectation
of a higher degree of interpersonal conflict among pastoral populations, especially
of young men. For example, ethnographic accounts of Sardinian pastoralists have
shown that livestock raids are common occurrences, so much so that the first
successful raid is a rite of passage for younger members of the tribe (Salzman
2004:14). These forms of raiding are often reciprocal between neighboring tribes or
villages. Thus, the risk for injury from interpersonal conflict may have started at a
relatively early age among the nomads in this study. However, within each age
cohort, the Old Adult Nomadic Pastoral group has the highest rate among males
(excluding the one case out of two observations of crania in Agricultural Middle
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Adult males). These fractures on older adults were all well-healed, which suggests
they had survived violent encounters from an earlier period in their lives.
One consideration when trying to interpret skeletal indicators of violence is
the form of weaponry used. As discussed below in the comparison between samples
from different periods of imperial influence, the scale of technological innovations
influenced injury patterns. The types of cranial fractures in these younger Nomadic
Pastoral samples indicate blunt force trauma (Table A8.4, Figure A8.1) and the use
of sharp implements including knives, swords, axes, and arrow points (Figure
A9.1). Of note is the fact that pastoral females have such a high incidence of cranial
trauma, particularly in one site, Jinggouzi.
The high rate of trauma to females of this site (where no males had cranial
fractures) may be a factor of a nomadic lifestyle that had a high risk of raiding
activities and inter-tribal warfare, with women as victims of these raids and taken as
slaves or even participating in raiding parties, as has been documented among
Native Americans of the Great Plains (Ewers 1994). Another possibility is that such
trauma might be a factor of intra-community strife such as domestic violence, or
self-inflicted to reflect mourning as has been reported for Aboriginal women (Webb
1995:205). The location of the wounds on mostly the parietal and on the left side
might suggest face-to-face confrontations, such as might be expected in personal
confrontations. However, three of the five women had wounds that came from
bladed weapons, and this form of injury suggests some type of warfare. As
discussed in the next section, the site’s proximity to China may also be a factor.
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While there are no significant differences in the comparison of the total
adult populations in fracture location in the limbs (upper and lower), among the
female samples, the Agricultural group had a significantly greater rate than the
comparative Nomadic Pastoral and Agropastoral female groups. Though this
sample is small, which limits interpretation, these results suggest that while pastoral
females were more at risk of interpersonal danger (whether domestic or inter-tribal),
agrarian females had more risk of post-cranial injury.
Pastoral nomads had a relationship with the Chinese that has been
characterized as “trade or raid” (Jagchid and Symons 1989), and warfare for
pastures was common among pastoralists (Di Cosmo 1999). Regarding the latter,
intra-group confrontations is often associated with facial/nasal fractures (Walker
1997), which was found more frequently in the Nomadic Pastoral and Agricultural
samples; these findings may indicate increased tension within those groups relative
to the Agropastoral population. The following section addresses the possibility of
other contributing factors to these patterns of violence and health that can not be
attributed solely to regional variability or subsistence mode.
Level of Imperial Influence
The level of imperial influence upon populations at China’s periphery and
frontier changed frequently through time and according to distance from the core. I
hypothesized that the impact of imperialism on health depended on the strength of
the empire and on the logistics of imperial control over long distances. Therefore I
200
performed analyses of paleopathological markers across populations from different
periods of imperial development and from varied proximity to China’s heartland.
Hypotheses I assessed here include the “needy” theory that pastoralists
could not survive without access to agricultural goods to supplement their diet (and
luxuries to underwrite elite power). Hence, one hypothesis derived from this theory
is that dietary changes in Nomadic Pastoralists are expected to show increased
access to agricultural goods over time.
A second hypothesis, connected to the first, is that violence was the mode of
interaction, as nomadic need for agricultural goods drove nomads to obtain them
using violent means when they could. Again, I hypothesized that this is a factor of
how much control (and corresponding military strength) China had, as well as the
nomads’ proximity to China. As has been noted in the history of Chinese
interaction, zones furthest from the royal domain were less regular in payment of
tributes and labor services to China (Twitchett and Loewe 1986), and hence had less
regular interaction with China overall. Health indicators in the Outer zone should
reflect this lack of interaction in contrast to populations of the Inner zone.
Imperial Periods
The samples studied to address the issue of health effects according to
imperial age were Pre-imperial (the Jinggouzi site of the late Bronze Age in Inner
Mongolia), Early Imperial (the Lamadong collection from Manchuria), and Middle
Imperial (cluster of Yuan Dynasty samples from Inner Mongolia). Although all are
considered “Inner” zone (relative to Xinjiang samples of the northwest), technically
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the Pre-imperial site of Jinggouzi is located in the frontier, while the Early Imperial
Lamadong site and Middle Imperial samples fell within the borders of the Chinese
empire, though they were peripheral to the heartland in the Yellow River valley.
In comparing the Pre-imperial Jinggouzi population with the Early Imperial
Lamadong population, it is important to note that the former comprised Northcentral Nomadic Pastoral people, while the latter comprised North-eastern
Agropastoral people. Further, the Middle Imperial pooled sample was a mix of
ethnic Han and Mongolian people who practiced agriculture. These factors
(population differences between North-central and North-eastern samples, plus
different subsistence strategies), in addition to level of imperial influence, may all
be contributing factors to any disparities observed.
Underhill (2006) notes that warfare increased markedly in the northern
China region after states arose, and military technological innovations were key to
this process. By the time China neared its imperial age, warfare had shifted to open
battles and body armor had developed, first made of lacquered leather plates, later
with metal. By the early imperial age, helmets were in known use by the time in
which individuals of the Agropastoral sample lived. Thus, the lack of injuries from
weapons in samples later than the Bronze Age may be a result of these innovations
in protective gear 2 .
2
These advances also meant that improved weapons were developed to “pierce” these defenses.
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Pre-imperial vs. Early Imperial
Prior to Chinese unification as an empire under the Qin Dynasty (221 – 201
BC), Chinese states were more often fighting among themselves than attempting to
exert influence outside “Chinese” borders. Thus, I expected the Pre-imperial
population of Jinggouzi, which was beyond the borders, to have had less access to
Chinese agricultural goods, as well as more evidence of fighting for resources,
either from inter-tribal fighting for pasture land or raids for agricultural goods. By
the time of the Early Imperial period during which those from Lamadong lived,
several imperial dynasties had ruled, the empire’s borders had extended, and trade
was a regular occurrence along the Silk Road. So a comparison between the Preimperial sample and one from this period was expected to show increased signs of
state control in the latter; namely the Early Imperial sample should display
indicators of agricultural goods affecting diet and increased sedentism leading to
greater signs of non-specific stress and infection.
The overall higher prevalence of oral health problems such as AMTL,
carious lesions, and TMJ disease in the Agropastoral Lamadong sample accords not
only with the expectation that a population that farmed would have higher
frequencies of such conditions, but also that Lamadong had greater access to such
cultigens as a result of their status within the Chinese polity. The fact that females
of Pre-imperial Jinggouzi have high rates of oral problems more similar to the
Lamadong sample than with Jinggouzi males suggests females of this Pre-imperial
population may have had differential access to cultigens. That is, perhaps these Pre-
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imperial females had more access to crops from living in semi-permanent
residences, or perhaps there were different eating customs between males and
females. This higher prevalence of dental decay may also be a result of the genetic
predisposition for higher caries in females (Larsen 1997).
Another sign of decreased overall health by Early Imperial times relative to
the Pre-imperial era are the higher rates in the former group of enamel hypoplasia,
porotic hyperostosis, and cribra orbitalia (the last is significant when comparing
juveniles of the two periods). This decline in health may be attributed to several
factors including the more sedentary and agrarian lifestyle of the Early Imperial
sample, as well as the stress they experienced during the turbulent period following
collapse of the Han Dynasty, when many short-lived dynasties ruled China (Eng
2006). Such declines in health from political disintegration are seen in several
studies, such as those of post-collapse populations of Rome and Maya, which
similarly show elevated rates of porotic hyperostosis, cribra orbitalia, and enamel
hypoplasia (Danforth 1997; Facchini et al. 2000; Saul 1972; Wright 1997).
However, health, as measured by growth patterns, is not markedly different
between the two groups. In some long bone lengths the Early Imperial samples had
a greater mean average, in others, the Pre-imperial did. Mean long bone length
varied between the sexes as well. The fact that Early Imperial females had a
significantly greater mean length of the femur relative to the Pre-imperial sample
suggests that females in the imperial age may have had increased access to goods
and buffering from stress that was beneficial to growth.
204
Degenerative joint disease is higher in frequency in the Lamadong sample,
possibly attributable to their agropastoral subsistence activity more so than imperial
control. However, as part of the Chinese empire, the populace was taxed and
required to provide goods to the state as tribute, perform labor for state-projects
each year (Fairbank et al. 1989:61), and serve in the military as needed (Gernet
1998). Several burials in the Lamadong sample had associated military grave goods,
indicating that soldiers were part of this community. Training in arms may have
increased stress to joints in addition to farm work.
With respect to indicators of trauma and violent interactions, as expected the
pastoral Pre-imperial pastoral group displays greater rates of fractures overall.
While only Early Imperial Lamadong males have any incidences of nasal fractures,
Jinggouzi females show significantly more cranial fractures than either the
Lamadong group or males within Jinggouzi. As discussed previously, the high
incidence of cranial trauma among the pastoral females may have been a factor of
warfare (with other pastoral groups for pasture land or with Chinese forces) or from
domestic issues. Also, a possible explanation for the lower frequency of cranial
trauma among the Early Imperial Lamadong people is the innovation of protective
helmets, which were found in the burial assemblage. Thus, populations from both
periods experienced violence of some form, although it appears to have been more
dangerous for women of the Pre-imperial period.
The greater rates of long bone fractures in the total Jinggouzi sample relative
to the Lamadong sample corresponds to the different subsistence-related activities.
205
That is, mobile populations that dealt habitually with livestock were expected to
have higher rates of trauma than those who were more sedentary. Overall, these
findings agree with expectations for higher levels of violence in the Pre-imperial
Nomadic Pastoral group, and decreased health in Agropastoral people of the Early
Imperial period.
Pre-imperial vs. Middle Imperial
By the Yuan Dynasty, China had already been an empire for over a
millennium and was in fact ruled by Mongolians (Ghengis Khan and descendents). I
expected a decline in overall health from Pre-imperial to Middle Imperial period
samples. A comparison between these samples was expected to show marked
differences in indicators of diet and more signs of stress in the imperial sample, but
greater signs of interpersonal violence in the Pre-imperial sample. This higher
incidence of violence was predicted because the Jinggouzi population was not under
unified state control and this may have led to increased fighting and raiding for
resources.
As was the case with the comparison to the Early Imperial sample in oral
health markers, the Pre-imperial sample has lower frequencies of dental disease.
While the females from these two periods have a similar rate of AMTL, the male
and female rates of carious lesions and TMJ disease are greater in the Middle
Imperial group. These results support the hypothesis of a more cariogenic diet in
imperial populations than in pre-imperial ones, though females of nomadic groups
may have had more access to cultigens.
206
The two samples are similar in the low rates of several indicators of stress,
mostly due to small sample sizes. But the Middle Imperial period females do have a
significantly greater rate of enamel hypoplasia than found in Pre-imperial females.
This finding suggests that childhood stress owing to malnutrition or disease, both
byproducts of sedentary agricultural life, may account for the high rate of nonspecific stress markers in an otherwise limited Agricultural Middle Imperial sample
(4/9, 44% females affected).
Agricultural subsistence and state-mandated work may account for the
significantly higher rates of DJD found in the imperial sample, especially with
respect to females. Perhaps work for craft production accounts for the high rates of
DJD in imperial era women.
The samples have similar rates of long bone fractures. Again, small sample
sizes limit interpretations, but this similarity suggests that populations faced risk of
injury regardless of differences in subsistence activity and time periods. However,
as discussed earlier, Jinggouzi females had a greater risk of cranial trauma, which
may be related to increased danger from their lifestyle as nomads that warred with
each other and with China.
Early Imperial vs. Middle Imperial
A comparison between the Early Imperial sample and the later, Middle
Imperial, sample from the Yuan Dynasty was expected to show less marked
differences than found in the comparison between the latter and the Pre-imperial
207
sample. That is, I expected these two imperial groups to be rather similar in
frequencies of stress markers.
While it is true that there are no significant differences between juveniles of
the two imperial populations, or between males, there are marked differences in
frequencies of stress and DJD pathological indicators between females. Oral health
seems to have been equally “bad” (relative to the Pre-imperial sample) in the Early
and Middle Imperial samples, but Early Imperial females (and males) have a greater
rate of carious lesions than the Middle Imperial sample. Again the small sample size
of the Middle Imperial female sample may account for some of these results, but
perhaps there were true health differences between the two imperial periods related
to diet quality or access to cultigens.
Although Middle Imperial females had a significantly higher rate of enamel
hypoplasia and greater rates of DJD in general, the Early Imperial females had
somewhat higher frequencies in other indices of stress. Differences in the
sociopolitical landscape between the two periods may explain these results. The
Early Imperial population lived in a somewhat unstable period following the
collapse of the Han Dynasty and the rise of multiple short-lived dynasties, which
may have led to relatively high levels of stress. On the other hand, the Middle
Imperial population was under the control of the foreign Mongolian dynasty, and
the stress from that dynasty’s attempts to rule effectively may have resulted in the
high level of enamel hypoplasia seen in this sample.
208
Inner Zone vs. Outer Zone
Geographic distance to the Chinese heartland would also have been
pertinent to imperial influence and the resulting effects on health, diet, and lifestyle.
Two zones relative to the Chinese center were considered: 1) the “Inner” frontier
zone of sites located in Inner Mongolia and Manchuria where borders were fluid
and control of these lands shifted between nomads and China, and 2) the “Outer”
frontier zone, which comprises those samples derived from the northwest, in
modern China’s Xinjiang province. Samples from these zones were separated by
imperial period. The Inner zone site from Inner Mongolia is the Pre-imperial period
site from Jinggouzi, and the Early Imperial site from Manchuria is Lamadong. The
Outer zone sample is the pooled group of nomads that occupied Xinjiang during the
Iron Age, which roughly overlaps the time periods of both the Jinggouzi and
Lamadong samples. The main expectation was that those populations that were
geographically closer to the border with China experienced more violent conflict
than those in the Outer zone. I also expected access to cultigens to be a reflection of
proximity to China, and decreased dental health was expected in such contexts.
Pre-imperial Inner Zone vs. Outer Zone
The Pre-imperial sample from the Inner zone consists of people who
practiced nomadic pastoralism, like the Outer zone sample. Thus, indicators of
health, diet, and activity might be similar between the two. However, the Inner zone
sample was in closer proximity to Chinese borders, so the expectation was that there
would be more indicators of stress and/or violent conflict.
209
With respect to indicators of oral health, males of the Outer zone have a
significantly greater rate of carious lesions, as well as higher rates of AMTL and
TMJ osteoarthritis. This pattern, though not at the level of significance, is found in
the comparison of the females of each group as well. These results are contrary to
expectations that the Inner zone might have had more immediate access to cultigens
(from raids or trade).
The people of the Outer zone may have had their own access to agricultural
goods, either from semi-permanent segments of their populations practicing
horticulture, or via trade or raid with agricultural societies in the northwest region,
which had agricultural communities around oases. The differences in age structure
of the samples may also explain this apparent discrepancy. The majority of adults in
the Jinggouzi sample are Young Adults (64%), with only 8% classified as Older
Adults. In the Outer zone, a greater percentage of the sample falls in the Older
Adult category (19%) 3 . As the Outer zone had more cases of older individuals, the
differences in age structure between these two zones may explain the overall higher
incidence of dental disease in the Outer zone group.
The Outer zone samples had greater rates of stress-related markers,
including enamel hypoplasia and cribra orbitalia, which was a significant difference
between juveniles of the two zones. These findings suggest that stress experienced
in childhood was greater in the Outer zone, contrary to expectations.
3
As discussed in previous chapters, the difference in age distribution between samples in the Inner
and Outer zone may be due to differential preservation and sample bias in recovery after looting.
210
This stress may be associated with nutritional inadequacies and/or disease.
Those in the Inner zone may have benefited from either more favorable local
resource availability, or possibly from contact with the Chinese who had resources
for which they could trade or raid, which helped to better buffer their children from
stress during development. However, the Outer zone males and females are
significantly greater in femoral length and associated stature, indicating better
health for them, or at least catch-up growth after early childhood stress. But this
finding may also be attributed to genetic factors contributing to adult height, as the
Outer zone sample consists of North-western people, while the Jinggouzi Inner zone
sample are North-central people.
Owing to the fact that both samples practiced nomadic pastoralism, an
expectation was that patterns of activity would be similar. However, males and
females of the Outer zone have significantly greater rates of DJD in the four major
joints examined. As in the case with age-dependent variables such as carious lesions
discussed above, an explanation for this apparently discordant pattern may lie in the
age structure difference between the “younger” Inner zone sample and the “older”
Outer zone sample.
As expected, rates of long bone fractures are similar between the two zones,
probably related to their shared subsistence strategy. On the other hand, trauma
from interpersonal conflict was expected to be higher in the Inner zone group owing
to its proximity to the Chinese border, especially as this sample was
contemporaneous with the Warring States period in China.
211
Results show that the Outer zone males had more signs of interpersonal
violence (16% cranial trauma and 8% nasal fractures versus zero cases of both
variables in the Jinggouzi males). However, while 4% of the Outer zone females
had cranial trauma, this rate is significantly lower than the 28% of females in the
Inner zone who suffered head injury. Do these results follow expectations? There
are several possible interpretations.
Outer zone males could have higher rates of injury related to interpersonal
violence owing to the increased chances of inter-tribal warfare over pasture in
Xinjiang as compared to Inner Mongolia, which had richer resources, both natural
and from proximity to China. If their trauma was related to warfare of this form,
females in the Outer zone may have been less at risk since males were the warriors
who rode out. The pattern of cranial/facial fractures and weapon wounds (arrow
points and cuts from bladed weapons) among males suggests that Outer zone males
got their injuries from implements designed for warring.
Conversely, males of the Inner zone had no cranial or nasal fractures,
suggesting they did not engage in as much inter-tribal warfare or in conflict with
raids into China. However, two young adult males from Jinggouzi do have signs of
interpersonal violence (see Appendix, Figure A9.1). One has a healed cut on the
posterior distal humerus, suggesting this male had been sliced by a blade, possibly
while holding reins for horse riding where the distal humerus would have been
exposed. A more telling sign of interpersonal violence is the presence of an
embedded bronze projectile in the right anterior ilium of a young male. Further, the
212
grave goods associated with this site have been well studied and many implements
of warfare were found. So, conflict—either with other nomadic tribes or with
China—was likely, even if not at the same level of intensity or risk of injury as
found in the Outer zone male samples (Eng et al. 2007).
The high frequency of cranial injury in Inner zone females of the pastoral
Jinggouzi sample may be attributed to raiding, retaliatory attacks from other tribes,
self-inflicted wounds, or domestic violence. With respect to this latter possibility,
there is one young adult female with a fracture of the ulna that may be a “parry
fracture” for defensive blocking. One of the females with cranial injuries suffered
three depressed fractures at similar stages of healing, suggesting repeated blows,
possibly from a domestic violence event. However, the majority of females with
cranial injuries (3/5, 60%) have cuts from bladed weapons, which suggests raid
and/or warfare. The close proximity of this site to the contentious border may have
meant increased risk for females in this zone.
Early Imperial Inner Zone vs. Outer Zone
The Early Imperial Inner zone site of Lamadong practiced agropastoralism,
so some differences between this site and pastoral people of the Outer zone may be
associated with subsistence mode (note that choice in subsistence strategy is also
related to the ecology of the “zone” in which people lived). It is expected that the
Lamadong sample had health problems associated with sedentary living and
agricultural diet, but less risk of violent injury from interpersonal violence as they
were under imperial rule, which may have afforded them relative security and
213
stability. However, as mentioned, signs of soldiering were found among grave
goods of the Inner zone Lamadong site.
The two zones are similar in rates of AMTL and TMJ disease, but
Agropastoral females of the Inner zone do have a significantly higher rate of carious
lesions than the pastoral females of the Outer zone, as expected from dietary
differences and access to cultigens. There is a higher ratio of male to female rates of
enamel hypoplasia (11% to 2%) in the Outer zone, whereas the Inner zone ratio is
more similar (10% to 11%). This difference in childhood stress between the sexes
may have been a result of relatively more stress for pastoral boys than girls,
whereas the children in the Inner zone may have had similar exposure to stress
regardless of gender. Another indicator of “better” health in the Outer zone is in the
significantly longer femur and tibia lengths in the male and female comparisons
(Outer zone males also have a significantly longer humerus group mean) 4 . Overall
health appears to have been better in the Outer zone, likely a factor of their more
mobile pastoral lifestyle, as well as the stresses associated with imperial control
exerted over the Inner zone sample.
The Outer zone females did suffer significantly more DJD of the elbow and
hip than their Inner zone counterparts. This may be related to the mobile lifestyle of
the Outer zone nomads, where females were more likely to travel by horse than the
Agropastoral Inner zone females.
4
Note these longer mean lengths may also be attributed to inherently greater body size in samples
from Xinjiang relative to those from Manchuria.
214
Outer zone males had a significantly higher rate of cranial fractures, and as
discussed above, the types of injury and weaponry used indicated warfare. The
Outer zone males also suffered more nasal fractures than males of the Inner zone
(8% vs. 3%). Similarly, the Outer zone females had higher rates of cranial injury
(4% vs. 1%) and nasal fractures (2% vs. 0%). The higher rates of these fractures in
males in general support interpretations for interpersonal violence being a
predominantly male activity (e.g., Walker 1997). These findings also support the
hypothesis that the Outer zone may have been a more contentious zone for intertribal warfare and raiding for goods. These findings also suggest that the imperial
age sample from Inner zone had more readily available access to goods and
specialized forces for military and law enforcement, so less people in the
community were likely to be warriors than was true for the nomadic societies.
Conclusion
This chapter has discussed the results of the second stage of research and
their implications for the main research questions. These interpretations give new
understanding regarding the variation among populations along the northern frontier
and provide information about the correlations between health, diet, and activity
with subsistence mode and the level of imperial influence. In many instances, the
research supported expectations, but there were several notable exceptions that
indicate the complicated nature of sociocultural, economic, and political factors in
215
frontier interaction. The following chapter addresses the broader implications of
these research findings and proposes new lines of future research.
216
Chapter 10: Conclusions
In this dissertation I have tested the hypotheses that frontier interaction
between nomadic pastoralists of the Inner Asian steppe and agriculturalists of
imperial China revolved around differences in mode of subsistence. In particular, I
have explored the hypothesis that as a consequence of subsistence differences, there
were disparities in diet, health, and activity-related injuries, as well as differences in
the social organization that supported these contrasting economic systems. It has
been hypothesized by previous researchers that the “need” for agrarian comestibles
and luxury items had a large influence on nomadic pastoral relations with China. I
tested the hypothesis that a desire for goods from sedentary peoples incited pastoral
groups to obtain them from China, and I tested the hypothesis that violence was the
main mode of interaction between nomads and China. I argue that the relationship
and form of interaction between nomadic pastoralists and the Chinese empire
depended on China’s level of imperial development over different periods and on
the geographic extent of their control.
Bioarchaeological data on the variation in health, diet, and activity patterns
of people from a broad spectrum of archaeological sites along China’s northern
frontier provided an effective means to examine these questions. I collected data
from the skeletal remains of 979 people from 11 archaeological sites. These data
were then pooled to address potential differences stemming from regional variation,
differences in subsistence, and proximity to China during different imperial periods.
217
I analyzed several variables that yield information on health and nutritional
status, as well as indicators of activity and trauma. The results presented in Chapter
7 showed the suitability of these pooled samples as reasonably homogeneous
(despite temporal differences within pooled samples), while in Chapters 8 and 9 I
presented and evaluated the results of these pooled samples with respect to the main
research hypotheses.
In this chapter I summarize and interpret the main results of this
investigation. I also discuss to the broader implications of this research to our
understanding of frontier interaction and the biological consequences of a nomadic
pastoral lifeway. Finally, I offer suggestions for some future directions for research.
Bioarchaeological Hypotheses
Regional Variation
The samples derive from a wide geographic swath of sites along China’s
northern frontier, extending nearly 2000 miles from the desert landscape of
Xinjiang in Central Asia to the mixed steppe/forested zone of Manchuria in East
Asia. Furthermore, these samples are multiethnic in composition. Hence, there is
the possibility that differences between groups are a result of genetic
predispositions for certain biological and pathological conditions. One measure of
overall health and stress in particular—adult height—is influenced by both genetic
and environmental factors, so potential population differences exist because of
genetic influences such as localized gene flow and local adaptations.
218
The results of my analysis of long bone lengths, which serve as a summary
health index, do support the hypothesized regional differences between the samples,
with those from Xinjiang (North-western region) taller than populations in
Mongolia (North-central) and Manchuria (North-eastern); the latter two share
relatively similar long bone lengths. This finding supports modern data of
worldwide adult height comparisons, and suggests that that these trends extended
into antiquity, as far back as the Bronze Age.
However, while there may be regional differences in body size that have a
genetic basis, external factors such as subsistence mode and dynamic social
conditions likely strongly affected growth as well, in addition to other indicators of
health, diet, and activity. Hence, the next series of hypotheses addressed these
variables in relation to subsistence and imperial influences.
Subsistence Mode
Are there marked differences in health between populations that practiced
different subsistence strategies along the frontier? This research suggests that this is
the case. In general, populations that practiced some form of agriculture and were
sedentary suffered more dental disease, as well as more childhood stress and nonspecific infection. Sedentary males also had shorter long bones than nomadic males.
These findings are consistent with other bioarchaeological studies that show a
general decrease in health when mobile foraging groups shifted to intensive
agriculture.
219
However, there are several findings that are contrary to expectations. First,
an indicator of non-specific stress (cribra orbitalia) was more frequent in the
Nomadic Pastoral group. Second, the Agricultural sample is the least sexually
dimorphic of the three groups. Finally, agrarian females have greater long bone
lengths than nomadic females. All point to relatively less stress in the Agricultural
sample. These contradictory results may all be related to the stability afforded by
the imperial infrastructure during the Yuan Dynasty (from which the majority of the
Agricultural group derives), including provisions for resources in times of scarcity
and better cultural buffers against stress for agrarian females than found in pastoral
societies.
There were no noticeable differences in rates of degenerative joint changes,
but that may have been a factor of the relatively small sample of individuals from
the oldest age category in all collections studied. As expected, fractures were more
often found among adults than children and among males more often than among
females. Long bone fractures were surprisingly more common among the
Agricultural group than those that practiced some form of pastoralism, but this may
be attributed to the risk of accidents when dealing with domesticated animals in any
setting and the vagaries of suffering accidents in general. Nomadic Pastoral
populations did experience the greatest frequency of fractures from interpersonal
violence, which supports the hypothesis that nomads engaged more frequently in
conflicts such as inter-tribal warfare and raiding for agricultural goods.
220
Levels of Imperial Influence
The extent of imperial influence over the frontier appears to depend on the
strength and development of the imperial infrastructure and governance as well as
geographical constraints toward China’s expansion. The data show a trend of
decreasing health from Pre-imperial to Middle Imperial times, particularly in oral
health and non-specific stress. Furthermore, populations living under imperial
control (and who practiced some form of agriculture) seem to have suffered higher
rates of osteoarthritis, which may be associated with heavier demand for work in an
agricultural setting, and/or to pay tributes or participate in imperial-mandated labor.
The risk of fractures from interpersonal conflict was higher in the Preimperial population, suggesting that populations outside of imperial influence and
access to imperial resources engaged in more violent conflict, possibly as a function
of social organization within nomadic societies, but perhaps also in relation to fights
for resources, including agrarian goods.
Chinese interaction with the frontier was also dependent on the geographic
extent of China’s influence over time. In the comparison of pastoral populations
from the Outer zone and the Inner zone during Pre-imperial times, those in the
Outer zone had greater frequencies of stress-related markers. These results suggest
that populations further from agrarian Chinese states and access to its resources may
have suffered more nutritional inadequacies relative to those in closer proximity.
However, the higher rate of trauma from interpersonal conflict in the Inner zone
221
sample, especially among females, suggests a higher risk of violence in populations
that lived closer to China.
Likewise individuals from the Outer zone appear to have been relatively
healthier than an Inner zone collection from the Early Imperial period, despite, or as
a result of imperial influence in the latter. Agricultural goods were more plentiful in
the Inner zone Agropastoral population, and accordingly oral health was worse, and
decreased health from sedentary living is apparent. One potential benefit of living
under imperial control may have been lower risks of violence, as the Outer zone
pastoral group had higher rates of fractures overall, including those associated with
interpersonal violence, which again may be associated with inter-tribal warfare and
raids for agrarian goods.
Implications for Research of Frontier Interaction
The results of this research have provided new information into the
biological correlates of frontier–imperial interaction between China and nomads
along the Inner Asian steppe. Previous studies have focused on the Chinese
perspective and relied upon textual data from ancient Chinese sources, as well as
evidence of material culture from archaeological excavations. In this study, the
nature of the interactions between agriculturalists and pastoralists and their health
consequences were documented using multiple lines of bioarchaeological evidence
to test longstanding assumptions about dietary dependency and violent conflict
between ancient China and nomadic societies. These data also offer a new
222
perspective on the lives of nomadic pastoralists and the health consequences of
interaction with the Chinese empire, which will be valuable for direct comparisons
with other Asian and Eurasian populations.
My interpretations of these findings were broad generalizations by necessity
(owing to sample size limitations), but it is understood that historical processes
occurring in each given site structured any potential interactions between the
societies in unique ways, which unfortunately were not addressed in such finegrained detail here. However, trends in interaction and the health consequences of
that interaction are apparent.
It is clear from bioarchaeological and archaeological data that the more
recent samples in the northern frontier had adopted a more agrarian lifestyle
compared to their Bronze Age predecessors. Whether these frontier populations
actively chose to adopt agriculture or had this subsistence strategy imposed on them
by a conquering (“civilizing”) Chinese dynasty is unclear. However, what is evident
from the bioarchaeological data is that health in general declined from the preimperial to imperial periods. These findings add support to the body of literature
that suggests a decrease in health with agricultural intensification and with imperial
control.
The data also show that violent interactions did occur more frequently
among the nomadic pastoralists than in agrarian populations. Whether this violence
was associated with raids to procure agricultural goods from sedentary
agriculturalists or whether violence was associated with inter-tribal disputes over
223
pastures is also difficult to elucidate. More refined analysis of the weapon wounds
might give clues as to what weapons caused the damage, and therefore who
inflicted wounds among the nomads. However, these findings do lend tentative
support for models of violent conflict among nomads, and between nomads and the
Chinese empire.
This research has shown that culture contact between China and frontier
societies resulted in diverse forms of interaction, both expected and unexpected. In
particular, frontier interaction between nomadic pastoralists and the Chinese empire
was dependent on several components, including distance and temporal
considerations. Thus, the relationship between nomads and China was dynamic and
fluid, influenced by a complex array of ecological, social, and historical factors.
Future Research
This investigation offers a wealth of new information on diachronic and
regional trends of the health consequences of interaction between steppe nomads
and China. I used data from a varied and sizeable series of archaeological
collections. These data were broad in scope and suitable for addressing the issues of
this research, but the power of analyses and interpretations would have benefited
greatly from increased sample sizes and more balanced distribution of sites from
different regions and time periods. These gaps include larger samples that practiced
agriculture, as well as samples from the Chinese core for comparative purposes with
the frontier and periphery. More contextual information from the archaeological
224
analysis of these cemetery sites and associated settlements would greatly enhance
interpretations and be useful in differentiating elite and non-elite individuals for the
inclusion of social status as a component of analysis.
There are still many avenues for research into frontier interaction and the
health of nomadic pastoralists. As mentioned, more fine-grained examination of
each site may yield a clearer picture of the process of frontier interaction at a local
level. A potentially fertile area of research concerns consideration of the health of
elites in powerful nomadic tribes in comparison to heath of elites in urban China.
Excavations of sites associated with the Xiongnu Empire in Mongolia have yielded
many burials with sumptuous goods, while there is much archaeological data from
the elite of the Chinese core in the Yellow River valley.
Another research direction is to fully investigate dietary changes through
isotopic analysis of populations from along the frontier and core during different
periods. Plans are in progress to analyze the results of stable isotopic tests (carbon
to nitrogen ratios and strontium ratios) to gain insight into the temporal and regional
differences in the consumption of meat and grains in the diet of frontier peoples.
These studies will quantify these components of the diet and the level of
agricultural dependency among different populations and they will expand our
understanding of how ecological differences and constraints between the Central
Plains of China and the steppe grassland may have structured sociocultural
development and interregional frontier interaction.
225
Appendix: Tables and Figures
Table A7.1. Age and sex distribution of the samples
Sample
NP Bz
Central
ED
NP Bz
Central
HTB
Ad
I (b- C (4- (12- Sub
3yr) 11yr) 17) (<18)
YA
(M)
YA
(F)
MA
(M)
MA
(F)
(OA
(M)
(OA Adult Adult Indet Total
(F)
(M)
(F) Adult N
0
0
0
0
0
1
1
1
0
1
0
0
0
4
0
9
6
6
23
14
7
7
1
4
7
8
0
86
27
21
7
0
18
23
3
6
1
4
7
2
0
125
1
6
5
0
13
14
13
8
4
5
6
7
0
82
7
14
11
0
17
7
7
4
2
12
4
0
0
85
1
4
4
0
14
7
6
5
3
4
0
0
0
48
Agropast
East BL
2
11
36
0
94
80
83
71
11
28
41
35
1
493
AG Neo
East QM
1
0
1
0
2
1
1
2
0
0
2
0
4
14
0
1
2
0
6
4
1
2
0
0
0
0
0
16
0
0
0
0
3
0
0
0
0
2
0
2
0
7
0
0
1
0
2
0
3
1
0
2
2
5
3
19
NP Bz
North LJ
NP Ir
Central
YNQ
NP Ir
Central
SAY
NP Ir
Central
BYJH
AG Yuan
North
SJC
AG Yuan
North
BWS
AG Yuan
East DZX
226
Table A7.2. Statistical comparison of long bone measures in the three regions
(where Neo = Neolithic, and Early and Middle = imperial periods) by time period
MALE
Bone
N-western
Bronze/Iron
N-central
Bronze/Middle
Significance Statistic
d.f.
p-value
LSD Post
Hoc
Femur
n.s.
t=0.536
49
0.595
-
Tibia
n.s.
t=-0.035
37
0.973
-
Humerus
n.s.
t=1.108
32
0.270
-
Femur
n.s.
t=0.581
22
0.567
-
Tibia
n.s.
t=0.418
7
0.688
-
Humerus
N/A
Femur
N-eastern
Neo/Early/Middle Tibia
Humerus
-
n.s.
F=1.644
F=3.825,
t=2.498
F=1.725,
t=0.158
Yes
n.s.
2, 138
2, 128
126
2, 85
85
0.197
0.024,
0.014
0.184,
0.875
Neo vs.
Early
(too few
Middle)
d.f.
p-value
LSD Post
Hoc
FEMALE
Bone
N-western
Bronze/Iron
N-central
Bronze/Middle
Significance Statistic
Femur
n.s.
t=0.367
40
0.716
-
Tibia
n.s.
t=0.278
33
0.783
-
Humerus
n.s.
t=0.701
27
0.489
-
Femur
n.s.
t=0.017
26
0.986
-
Tibia
n.s.
t=0.220
8
0.832
-
Humerus
n.s.
t=0.200
1
(no p)
Yes
F=5.966
F=4.153,
t=2.839
F=6.690,
t=2.586
2, 146
2, 134
134
1, 77
77
0.003
0.018,
0.005
Neo vs.
Early/Middle
Femur
N-eastern
Neo/Early/Middle Tibia
Humerus
Yes
Yes
227
0.012
Neo vs.Early
Neo vs.Early
Table A7.3. Statistical comparison of long bone measures in each economic mode
by time period (only one Agropastoral sample, no tests made)
MALE
NP Bronze/Iron
Ag Neo/Middle
NP Bronze/Iron
Ag Neo/Middle
Bone
Significance Statistic
Humerus
n.s.
t=1.045
Femur
Yes
t=3.036
Tibia
n.s.
t=-1.035
d.f.
35
68
44
p-value
0.030
0.003
0.306
n.s.
t=1.101
n.s.
t=1.442
n.s.
t=0.834
FEMALE
3
11
7
0.351
0.177
0.429
Bone
Significance Statistic
Humerus
n.s.
t=0.999
Femur
Yes
t=2.341
Tibia
n.s.
t=-1.249
d.f.
29
64
41
p-value
0.330
0.022
0.219
n.s.
Yes
n.s.
4
10
5
0.069
0.008
0.105
Humerus
Femur
Tibia
Humerus
Femur
Tibia
t=2.472
t=3.316
t=1.973
228
LSD Post
Hoc
LSD Post
Hoc
-
Table A7.4. Statistical comparison of pathological conditions within economic
modes by age and sex
NOMADIC PASTORAL
Juvenile vs. Adults
Males vs. Females
Significant p-value Direction Significant p-value Direction
AMTL
Yes
<0.0001 Adults>
n.s.
0.1956
Cavity
Yes
<0.0001 Adults>
Yes
0.0336
F>M
TMJ DJD
n.s.
0.8428
EH
n.s.
0.7801
Yes
0.0159
M>F
Tib osteoperi
n.s.
1
n.s.
1
PH
n.s.
0.3231
n.s.
0.6212
CO
Yes
0.0320
Juv>
n.s.
0.8221
Limb fx/indiv
Yes
0.0400 Adults>
n.s.
0.3805
Cranial fx
Yes
0.0286 Adults>
n.s.
0.6444
Nasal fx
n.s.
0.5841
n.s.
0.3666
Shoulder DJD
n.s.
0.1276
Elbow DJD
n.s.
0.6877
Hip DJD
n.s.
0.4421
Knee DJD
n.s.
0.3088
AGROPASTORAL
Juvenile vs. Adults
Males vs. Females
Significant p-value Direction Significant p-value Direction
AMTL
Yes
0.0001 Adult>
n.s.
0.2454
Cavity
Yes
<0.0001 Adult>
Yes
0.0289
F>M
TMJ DJD
n.s.
0.3548
EH
n.s.
0.7816
n.s.
0.7157
Tib osteoperi
n.s.
0.2367
n.s.
0.6297
PH
n.s.
0.3668
n.s.
0.6172
CO
Yes
<0.0001
Juv>
Yes
0.0004
M>F
Limb fx/indiv
n.s.
0.2388
Yes
0.0033
M>F
Cranial fx
n.s.
1
n.s.
0.2163
Nasal fx
n.s.
1
n.s.
0.2411
Shoulder DJD
n.s.
0.6368
Elbow DJD
Yes
0.0265
M>F
Hip DJD
n.s.
0.3841
Knee DJD
Yes
0.0308
M>F
229
(Table A7.4 continued)
AGRICULTURAL
Juvenile vs. Adults
Males vs. Females
Significant p-value Direction Significant p-value Direction
AMTL
n.s.
0.5590
n.s.
1
Cavity
n.s.
0.5534
n.s.
1
TMJ DJD
n.s.
0.6668
EH
n.s.
1
n.s.
0.1486
Tib osteoperi
n.s.
1
n.s.
1
PH
n.s.
1
n.s.
1
CO
n.s.
1
n.s.
1
Limb fx/indiv
n.s.
1
n.s.
1
Cranial fx
n.s.
1
n.s.
1
Nasal fx
n.s.
1
n.s.
1
Shoulder DJD
n.s.
0.1819
Elbow DJD
n.s.
1.0000
Hip DJD
n.s.
1
Knee DJD
n.s.
1
-
230
Table A8.1. Statistical comparison of pathological conditions among pooled
regional groups (North- western, central, eastern)
AMTL
n.s.
MALE
Statistic
p value2
Direction
2
χ = 2.6805
<1
2
F, χ =25.0823
<0.0001, 0.0002 East>West+Central
2
χ =2.424
<1
F, χ2=9.722
0.0207, 0.0126 Central>West+East
2
χ =1.737
<1
2
χ =3.483
<0.2
2
χ =2.368
<1
2
χ =0.538
<1
2
F, χ =13.223
0.0018
West>East
2
χ =1.033
<1
2
F, χ =5.884
0.0322
West>Central
F, χ2=3.973
0.051
2
χ =0.096
<1
2
χ =2.967
<1
FEMALE
p value
Statistic
Direction
2
χ =0.660
<1
-
Cavity
Yes
F, χ2=33.844
Significant
AMTL
n.s.
Yes
Cavity
TMJ DJD
n.s.
EH
Yes
n.s.
Tibial osteoperi.
PH
n.s.
CO
n.s.
n.s.
LB fx/ind
Cranial trauma
Yes
n.s.
Nasal fracture
Shoulder DJD
Yes
Elbow DJD
n.s.
n.s.
Hip DJD
n.s.
Knee DJD
Significant
TMJ DJD
EH
Tibial osteoperi.
PH
CO
LB fx/ind
Cranial trauma
Nasal fracture
Shoulder DJD
Elbow DJD
Hip DJD
Knee DJD
1
2
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
Yes
Yes
n.s.
n.s.
Yes
Yes
Yes
1
0.0029, <0.0001 East>West>Central
2
<1
-
2
<1
-
2
<1
-
2
<1
-
<1
-
0.0328
Central>East
χ =1.825
χ =3.169
χ =1.067
χ =0.269
2
χ =1.414
2
F, χ =7.728
2
F, χ =39.662
0.0060, <0.0001 Central>West>East
2
<1
-
2
<1
-
χ =1.729
χ =2.086
2
F, χ =14.698
2
F, χ =15.397
2
F, χ =7.237
<0.0001, <0.0001 West>East>Central
0.0023, 0.0021
West>Central+East
0.0092, 0.0407
Central<West+East
"F" here stands for Fisher's Exact Test, used when Chi-square test was significant
Where p<0.5, values from Fisher's Exact Test shown
231
Table A8.2. Statistical comparison of pathological conditions by economic mode
(where AG = agricultural, NP = nomadic pastoral, Agpa = agropastoral)
(1)
JUVENILES
Significant1
AMTL
n.s.
Cavity
n.s.
EH
n.s.
Tib osteoperi.
n.s.
PH
n.s.
CO
n.s.
Upper fx
N/A
Lower fx
N/A
Limb fx/indiv
N/A
Cranial fx
n.s.
Nasal fx
N/A
Significant
AMTL
n.s
Cavity
Yes
TMJ DJD
Yes
EH
n.s
Tib osteoperi.
n.s
PH
n.s
CO
n.s
Upper fx
n.s
Lower fx
n.s
Limb fx/indiv
n.s
Cranial fx
Yes
Nasal fx
n.s
Shoulder DJD
n.s
Elbow DJD
n.s
Hip DJD
Yes
Knee DJD
n.s
Statistic2
p-value3
Direction
2
χ =1.1548
<1
χ2=4.3963
<1
2
χ =0.6149
<1
χ2=0.7205
<1
2
χ =2.1923
<1
χ2=3.5381
<0.2
2
χ =0.9922
<1
TOTAL ADULT POPULATION
Statistic
p-value
Direction
2
χ =3.6957
<0.20
χ2=48.8426
<0.0001
2
F, χ =6.8319 0.0444, 0.0156 AG>NP, Agpa
χ2=3.8408
<0.20
χ2=2.179
<1
χ2=1.5294
<1
χ2=4.342
<0.2
χ2=4.6410
<0.1
2
χ =1.6753
<1
χ2=3.8795
<0.2
F, χ2=21.058
<0.0001
NP>Agpa
χ2=1.7143
<1
2
χ =0.2694
<1
2
χ =0.2130
<1
F, χ2=6.3358
0.0466
AG>Agpa
χ2=3.0786
<1
-
232
(Table A8.2 continued)
(2)
Significant
AMTL
n.s.
Cavity
Yes
TMJ DJD
n.s.
EH
n.s.
Tib osteoperi.
n.s.
PH
n.s.
CO
n.s.
Upper fx
n.s.
Lower fx
n.s.
Limb fx/indiv
n.s.
Cranial fx
Yes
Nasal fx
n.s.
Shoulder DJD
n.s.
Elbow DJD
n.s.
Hip DJD
n.s.
Knee DJD
n.s.
AMTL
Cavity
TMJ DJD
EH
Tib osteoperi.
PH
CO
Upper fx
Lower fx
Limb fx/indiv
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
Shoulder DJD
Elbow DJD
Hip DJD
Knee DJD
Significant
n.s.
Yes
Yes
Yes
n.s.
n.s.
Yes
n.s.
n.s.
Yes
Yes
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
Yes
n.s.
MALE
Statistic
p-value
χ2=2.4593
<1
F, χ2=26.2739
<0.0001
χ2=2.4848
<1
χ2=0.7975
<1
χ2=1.768
<1
2
χ =2.7777
<1
χ2=0.0965
<1
2
χ =2.0096
<1
2
χ =0.7202
<1
χ2=0.4543
<1
2
F, χ =10.41
0.0019
χ2=0.9729
<1
χ2=2.3358
<1
2
χ =0.9580
<1
χ2=1.4629
<1
2
χ =0.8414
<1
FEMALE
Statistic
p-value
χ2=1.6976
<1
2
F, χ =23.0923 <0.0001,0.0271
F, χ2=5.36
0.0445,0.0420
F, χ2=14.1941 0.0028, 0.0187
χ2=0.6207
<1
χ2=0.1407
<1
2
F, χ =13.9957
0.0004
2
χ =3.3231
<.2
F, χ2=6.5862
0.0371
F, χ2=7.7729
0.0416
F, χ2=11.786
0.0011
χ2=1.2234
<1
2
χ =3.0993
<1
χ2=2.9678
<1
2
F, χ =6.6479
0.0332
2
χ =2.9890
<1
1
Direction
Agpa>NP, AG
NP>Agpa
Direction
Agpa>NP, AG
AG>NP, Agpa
AG>NP, Agpa
NP>Agpa
AG>NP, Agpa
AG>Agpa
NP>Agpa
NP>Agpa
-
N/A if one or more groups did not have affected cases
“F” here represents Fisher’s Exact Test, used if chi-square showed significance
3
Detailed p-values from Fisher’s Exact Test where there is a significant difference
2
233
Table A8.3. Statistical comparison of pathological conditions in age cohorts across
economic groups
AMTL
Cavity
TMJ
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
Upper fx
Lower fx
Shd DJD
Elb DJD
Hip DJD
Knee DJD
AMTL
Cavity
TMJ
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
Upper fx
Lower fx
Shd DJD
Elb DJD
Hip DJD
Knee DJD
AMTL
Cavity
TMJ
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
Upper fx
Lower fx
Shd DJD
Elb DJD
Hip DJD
Knee DJD
Significant1 Statistic2 p-value3 Direction
MALE YOUNG ADULT
χ2=0.015
n.s.
<1
2
F, χ =4.348 0.0414 Agpa>NP
Yes
χ2=0.249
n.s.
<1
2
χ =4.5311
<0.2
n.s.
2
χ =1.9524
<1
n.s.
χ2=0.3023
<1
n.s.
2
χ =0.1485
<1
n.s.
2
χ =0.4655
n.s.
<1
2
χ =0.5724
<1
n.s.
2
χ =0.9879
<1
n.s.
2
χ =0.838
<1
n.s.
MALE MIDDLE ADULT
χ2=4.051
n.s.
0.1319
2
F, χ =16.145 <0.0001 Agpa>NP
Yes
χ2=4.2224
<0.2
n.s.
<0.2
n.s.
Fisher's
2
χ =0.1882
n.s.
<1
n.s.
<1
Fisher's
2
χ
=0.6293
<1
n.s.
n.s.
<1
Fisher's
<1
n.s.
Fisher's
2
χ =4.0867
<0.2
n.s.
2
χ =2.0202
<1
n.s.
MALE OLD ADULT
χ2=2.024
n.s.
<1
2
χ =3.614
<0.2
n.s.
2
χ =3.5466
<0.2
n.s.
2
χ
=2.9474
<1
n.s.
2
χ
=2.037
n.s.
<1
N/A
2
χ =0.8736
<1
n.s.
<1
n.s.
Fisher's
n.s.
<1
Fisher's
2
χ =1.6742
<1
n.s.
2
χ =0.381
<1
n.s.
234
(Table A8.3 continued)
Significant1 Statistic2 p-value3 Direction
FEMALE YOUNG ADULT
2
χ =2.768
n.s.
<1
AMTL
2
χ =4.648
n.s.
<0.1
Cavity
2
χ =2.3939
<1
TMJ
n.s.
F, χ2=11.0617 0.0036 NP>Agpa
Cranial fx
Yes
Nasal fx
N/A
N/A
Upper fx
N/A
Lower fx
n.s.
<1
Shd DJD
Fisher's
<0.2
Elb DJD
n.s.
Fisher's
2
χ =2.9053
<1
Hip DJD
n.s.
<1
Knee DJD
n.s.
Fisher's
FEMALE MIDDLE ADULT
2
χ =0.224
<1
AMTL
n.s.
2
F,
χ
=11.605
Yes
0.0064 Agpa>NP
Cavity
2
F, χ =6.0277
0.03
Ag>Agpa
TMJ
Yes
2
χ =0.4711
n.s.
<1
Cranial fx
2
χ =1.9768
n.s.
<1
Nasal fx
N/A
Upper fx
χ2=3.5946
n.s.
<0.2
Lower fx
<1
Shd DJD
n.s.
Fisher's
<1
Elb DJD
n.s.
Fisher's
2
χ =3.1903
<1
Hip DJD
n.s.
2
χ =4.7655
<0.1
Knee DJD
n.s.
FEMALE OLD ADULT
2
χ =2.09
<1
AMTL
n.s.
2
F, χ =13.198 0.0011 Agpa>NP
Cavity
Yes
2
χ =0.283
n.s.
<1
TMJ
2
χ =2.2584
n.s.
<1
Cranial fx
N/A
Nasal fx
χ2=1.0145
Upper fx
n.s.
<1
2
χ =0.6825
n.s.
<1
Lower fx
2
χ
=1.7346
n.s.
<1
Shd DJD
2
χ =1.1442
<1
Elb DJD
n.s.
2
χ
=2.0858
n.s.
<1
Hip DJD
2
χ =2.1624
n.s.
<1
Knee DJD
1
N/A if one or more groups did not have affected cases
2
“F” here represents Fisher’s Exact Test, used if chi-square showed significance
3
Detailed p-values from Fisher’s Exact Test where there is a significant difference
235
Table A8.4. Pattern and distribution of fractures by economic mode
Site
LJ
LJ
LJ
LJ
LJ
LJ
LJ
LJ
LJ
LJ
LJ
LJ
LJ
LJ
LJ
LJ
HTB
HTB
HTB
HTB
HTB
BYJH
BYJH
BYJH
BYJH
BYJH
BYJH
BYJH
BYJH
BYJH
BYJH
YNQ
YNQ
YNQ
YNQ
YNQ
SAY
SAY
SAY
SAY
SAY
Nomadic Pastoral Samples
Sex Age
Bone
Side
Trauma
State
M
YA
Ulna
R
Simple fx
Healed
M
YA
Femur
R
Simple fx
Healed
M
MA
1) Ulna
L
Simple fx
Healed
M
MA
2) Tibia
L
Simple fx
Healed
M
YA
Ilium
R
Projectile
Slight
M
YA
Humerus
L
Cut
Healed
F Indet. A
Femur
R
Simple fx
Healed
F
YA
Frontal
L
Cut
Healed
F
YA
Pariet./occip.
R
Cut
Healed
F
YA
Parietal
L
Depressed fx
Healed
F
YA
Ulna
L
Simple fx
Healed
F
YA
Sacrum
L
Compression?
Healing
F
YA
Ribs
L
Simple fx
Healed
F
MA
Tibia
L
Simple fx
Healed
F
OA
Parietal
R
Cut
Healed
F
OA
1) Parietal
L
Depressed fx
Healed
2) Parietal
L
Depressed fx
Healed
3) Parietal
L
Depressed fx
Healed
Juv
Ad
Frontal
Mid
Depressed fx
Healed
M
YA
Frontal
R
Cut
Healing
M
YA
Parietal
R
Depressed fx
Healed
F
YA
1) Parietal
L
Depressed fx
Healed
2) Parietal
L
Depressed fx
Healed
F
OA
Frontal
L
Depressed fx
Healed
Depressed fx
Healed
Frontal
Mid
Juv
Ad
Cut
Healing
R
M
YA
Frontal
Parry fx?
Active/healing
M
YA
Ulna
L
Cut
Active/slight
M
MA
Occipital
L
Depressed fx
Healed
M
MA
Frontal
Mid
Well-healed
M
A
Radius
L Compression? Fall?
Fall?
Well-healed
M
YA
Tibia
L
Cut?
Active/healing
M
YA
Femur
L
Depressed fx
Healed
F
YA
Frontal
Mid
Depressed fx
Active/healing
R
F
YA
Frontal
M
YA
Frontal
R
Depressed fx
Perimortem
R
Depressed fx
Healing
M
MA
Parietal
M
MA
Nasal
L
Fracture
Active (non-union)
M
OA
Parietal
L
Cut
Active/slight
M
OA
1) Frontal
Mid
Depressed fx
Healed
2) Frontal
L
Depressed fx
Healed
3) Frontal
R
Depressed fx
Healed
4) Nasal
L
Fracture
Healing
M
YA
1) Parietal
R
Depressed fx
Perimortem
2) Parietal
L
Depressed fx
Perimortem
M
YA
Parietal
R
Depressed fx
Healed
M
YA
Parietal
L
Projectile
Perimortem
Nasal
L
Fracture
Healed
M
YA
M
YA
1) Parietal
R
Sharp
Perimortem
2) Parietal
L
Sharp
Perimortem
3) Parietal
L
Sharp
Perimortem
4) Parietal
L
Sharp
Perimortem
236
(Table A8.4 continued)
Site
SAY
SAY
SAY
SAY
Sex
M
F
F
F
Site
BL
BL
BLII
Sex
Juv
M
M
BLII
BLII
BLI
BLII
BLII
M
M
M
M
M
BLII
BLI
BLII
BLII
M
M
M
M
BLII
BL
BLII
BL
M
M
M
M
Nomadic Pastoral Samples
Bone
Side
Trauma
Cheek/zyg
L
Fracture
Nasal
R
Fracture
Parietal
L
Depressed fx
Ulna
L
Parry fx?
Agropastoral Sample
Age
Bone
Side
Trauma
Ad
Metatarsal
?
Fracture
YA
Clavicle
R
Fracture
R
Fracture
YA
1) Humerus
R
Fracture
2) Ulna
YA
Tibia
L
Simple fx
R
Simple fx
YA
Fibula
YA
Ulna
L
Parry fx?
YA
Radius
L
Simple fx
YA
1) Tibia
L
Compound fx?
2) Fibula
L
Compound fx?
Fracture
MA
Fibulae
L+R
YA
Ulna
L
Greenstick
MA
Tibia
L
Simple fx
MA
1) Tibia
L
Compound fx?
2) Fibula
L
Compound fx?
MA
Fibula
L
Greenstick
MA Metatarsal 3+4 R
Fracture
MA
Ankle
L
Fx=Ankylososis
MA
Femur
R
Fracture
BLII
M
OA
BLII
BLII
BLII
BL
BLII
M
M
M
M
F
OA
OA
A
A
YA
BLII
BLII
BLII
F
F
F
MA
MA
OA
Site
QM
QM
QM
95SJCI
BWS
BWS
DZX
DZX
Sex
M
M
F
M
F
F
M
M
Age
MA
MA
A
OA
A
A
A
A
Age
MA
MA
OA
OA
Ribs (2)
L
Fracture
Tibia
R
Fracture
Metatarsal
?
Fracture
Femur
R
Fracture
Ulna
L
Simple fx
R
Fracture
1) Ulna
Fracture?
2) Pubis
LR
Humerus
L
Simple fx
Ulna
L
Simple fx
Tibia
L
Simple fx
Agricultural Samples
Bone
Side
Trauma
Parietal
R
Depressed fx
Parietal
L
Depressed fx
Radius
R
Simple fx
Nasal
L
Fracture
Fibula
R
Fracture?
Fibula
L
Fracture?
Ulna
R
Parry fx?
Tibia
R
Simple fx
237
State
Healed
Healed
Healed
nearly healed
State
Healed
Well-healed
Healed
Healed
Well-healed
Active/healing
Well-healed
Well-healed
Well-healed
Well-healed
Well-healed
Active/healing
Well-healed
Active/healing
Active/healing
Active/healing
Well-healed
Healed
Well-healed
1) Well-healed
2) non-union
Active/healing
Healed
Active/healing
Well-healed
Healed
Non-union
Well-healed
Well-healed
Healed
State
Healed
Healed
Healed
Healed
Healed
Healed
Healed
Well-healed
Table A8.5. Statistical comparison of pathological comparisons in levels of imperial
influence by time (Fisher’s Exact Test used in all instances)
FEMALE
MALE
Significant
AMTL
n.s.
Cavity
Yes
TMJ DJD
n.s.
EH
n.s.
Tib osteoperi
n.s.
PH
n.s.
CO
n.s.
Limb fx
n.s.
Cranial fx
n.s.
Nasal fx
n.s.
Shoulder DJD
n.s.
Elbow DJD
Yes
Hip DJD
n.s.
Knee DJD
Yes
Significant
AMTL
n.s.
Cavity
Yes
TMJ DJD
n.s.
EH
n.s.
Tib osteoperi
n.s.
PH
n.s.
CO
n.s.
Limb fx
n.s.
Cranial fx
n.s.
Nasal fx
n.s.
Shoulder DJD
n.s.
Elbow DJD
n.s.
Hip DJD
n.s.
Knee DJD
Yes
Pre-Imperial - Early Imperial
p value
Direction Significant p value
0.1253
n.s.
0.7621
<0.0001
Early
Yes
<0.0001
0.3716
n.s.
0.2209
1
n.s.
1
0.3622
n.s.
1
1
n.s.
1
0.5997
n.s.
0.6982
0.5034
n.s.
0.0604
1
Yes
<0.0001
1
n.s.
1
0.0953
Yes
0.0475
n.s.
0.3590
0.0320
Early
0.7441
n.s.
0.1331
0.0408
Early
Yes
0.0062
Pre-Imperial - Middle Imperial
p value
Direction Significant p value
0.5055
n.s.
1
0.0410
Middle
n.s.
0.2542
1
(no cases)
Yes
0.0153
0.5280
n.s.
0.2941
1
n.s.
1
1
(no cases)
n.s.
1
1
(no cases)
n.s.
1
1
n.s.
1
1
(no cases)
n.s.
0.6372
1
n.s.
1
1
Yes
0.0196
0.0797
n.s.
0.0286
0.1495
Yes
0.0050
0.0076
Middle
Yes
0.0060
238
Direction
Pre
(no cases)
Early
Early
Direction
Middle
(no cases)
(no cases)
(no cases)
Middle
Middle
Middle
Middle
(Table A8.5 continued)
MALE
AMTL
Cavity
TMJ DJD
Significant
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
FEMALE
Early Imperial - Middle Imperial
p value
Direction Significant p value
0.3443
n.s.
0.7417
0.3306
Yes
0.05
0.5993
Yes
0.0478
Direction
Early
Middle
EH
n.s.
1
-
n.s.
1
-
Tib osteoperi
n.s.
1
-
n.s.
1
-
PH
CO
Limb fx
Cranial fx
Nasal fx
Shoulder DJD
Elbow DJD
Hip DJD
Knee DJD
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
0.6020
0.1375
1
0.7749
0.3451
1
0.5572
0.0872
0.1210
-
n.s.
Yes
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
Yes
n.s.
0.5941
0.0527
0.1790
0.0814
1
0.0839
0.0584
0.0288
0.2229
Middle
(no cases)
Middle
Middle
-
239
Table A8.6. Statistical comparison of means of long bone lengths from different
periods of imperial influence
Bone
Humerus
Femur
Pre-Imperial to
Tibia
Early Imperial
Humerus
Femur
Tibia
Bone
Humerus
Femur
Pre-Imperial to
Tibia
Middle Imperial
Humerus
Femur
Tibia
Bone
Humerus
Femur
Early Imperial to
Tibia
Middle Imperial
Humerus
Femur
Tibia
Male
d.f.
84
150
129
Female
-0.625
75
-2.266
163
-0.86
138
Significant
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
t-statistic
0.776
-1.42
1.083
n.s.
Yes
n.s.
Male
d.f.
2
26
10
Female
-0.019
2
-0.325
30
-0.248
9
Significant
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
t-statistic
-2.599
-0.708
-0.098
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
Male
d.f.
82
140
127
Female
0.603
75
0.992
147
0.252
133
Significant
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
t-statistic
1.893
0.811
-1.053
n.s.
n.s.
n.s.
240
p-value LSD Post Hoc
0.440
0.158
0.281
0.534
0.025 Early>Pre
0.391
-
p-value LSD Post Hoc
0.122
0.485
0.924
0.986
0.747
0.810
-
p-value LSD Post Hoc
0.062
0.888
0.295
0.548
0.323
0.802
-
Table A8.7. Statistical comparison (Fisher’s Exact Test) of pathological conditions
by proximity to imperial influence (Juveniles presented first, Males and Females on
following page)
JUVENILE
Pre-Imperial Inner vs.Outer
Early Imperial Inner vs. Outer
Significant p-value Direction Significant p-value Direction
n.s.
1
(no cases)
n.s.
0.1160
AMTL
n.s.
1
n.s.
0.4321
Cavity
EH
n.s.
0.5363
n.s.
0.6662
Tib osteoperi
n.s.
1
n.s.
0.4200
PH
n.s.
1
(no cases)
n.s.
1
CO
Yes
0.0077
Outer
n.s.
1
Limb fx/indiv
n.s.
1
(no cases)
n.s.
1
(no cases)
Cranial fx
n.s.
0.4933
n.s.
0.4933
Nasal fx
n.s.
1
(no cases)
n.s.
1
(no cases)
241
(Table A8.7 continued)
Significant
AMTL
n.s.
Cavity
Yes
TMJ DJD
n.s.
EH
n.s.
Tib osteoperi
n.s.
PH
n.s.
CO
n.s.
Limb fx/indiv
n.s.
Cranial fx
n.s.
Nasal fx
n.s.
Shd DJD
Yes
Elb DJD
Yes
Hip DJD
n.s.
Knee DJD
n.s.
Pre-Imperial Inner Zone vs. Outer Zone
MALE
FEMALE
p-value Direction Significant p-value Direction
0.1142
n.s.
0.5036
0.0172
Outer
Yes
0.0061
Outer
1
n.s.
0.2706
0.3325
n.s.
1
1
n.s.
0.5271
1
n.s.
1
(no cases)
0.3389
n.s.
0.4359
0.2632
n.s.
0.2943
0.1907
Yes
0.0110
Pre/Inner
1
n.s.
1
0.0121
Outer
n.s.
0.3725
0.0306
Outer
Yes
0.0048
Outer
0.3243
Yes
0.0012
Outer
0.0211
Outer
Yes
0.0025
Outer
Significant
AMTL
n.s
Cavity
Yes
TMJ DJD
n.s
EH
n.s
Tib osteoperi
n.s
PH
n.s
CO
n.s
Limb fx/indiv
n.s
Cranial fx
Yes
Nasal fx
n.s
Shd DJD
n.s
Elb DJD
n.s
Hip DJD
n.s
Knee DJD
n.s
Early Imperial Inner Zone vs. Outer Zone
p-value Direction Significant p-value
0.5628
n.s
0.2733
0.0012 Early/Inner
Yes
0.0023
0.1412
n.s
0.6776
1
n.s
0.1247
0.6957
n.s
0.6812
0.1650
n.s
1
0.3520
n.s
0.8245
0.6069
n.s
1
0.0002
Outer
n.s
0.1432
0.4007
n.s
0.3805
0.0879
n.s
0.6069
0.6930
Yes
0.0065
0.3842
Yes
0.0014
0.5155
n.s
0.3326
242
Direction
Early/Inner
Outer
Outer
-
Table A8.8. Statistical comparison of long bone lengths according to proximity to
imperial influence
MALE
Bone
Femur
Tibia
Humerus
FEMALE
Femur
Tibia
Humerus
MALE
Femur
Tibia
Humerus
FEMALE
Femur
Tibia
Humerus
Pre-Imperial Inner Zone vs. Outer Zone
Significant
t-statistic
d.f. p-value LSD Post Hoc
Yes
-3.272
63
0.002 Outer>Inner
n.s.
-1.348
39
0.186
n.s.
-0.288
30
0.775
Yes
-3.231
56
0.002 Outer>Inner
n.s.
-1.894
37
0.066
n.s.
-0.845
24
0.406
Early Imperial Inner Zone vs. Outer zone
Yes
-4.005
177
0.000
Outer>Inner
Yes
-5.681
156
0.000
Outer>Inner
Yes
-2.881
110
0.005
Outer>Inner
Yes
Yes
n.s.
-2.690
-3.467
-1.225
243
173
161
97
0.008
0.001
0.224
Outer>Inner
Outer>Inner
-
Figure A5.1. Weapons found with burial assemblages: (A) Jinggouzi site (Bronze
Age nomads of Inner Mongolia), (B) Yanghai site (Iron Age nomads of Xinjiang)
(adapted from Wang et al. 2005; Lu et al. 2004).
244
Figure A8.1. Peri-mortem cranial trauma in four Nomadic Pastoral, North-western,
Young Adult males of the Iron Age (A, C, and D from SAY site, B from YNQ site).
245
Figure A9.1. Two male victims of interpersonal violence in the Pre-imperial, Inner
zone Jinggouzi site
246
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