Non-metric skeletal variation in Neolithic Hunter-Gatherers of the Cis-Baikal, Siberia
Postcranial non-metric skeletal traits are documented in two Cis-Baikal populations: the Kitoi, dating to the Early Neolithic (8000-7000/6800 BP), and the Isakovo/Serovo/Glazkovo (ISG) cultural complex, dating to the Late Neolithic (Isakavo/Serovo: 6000/5800-5200 BP) and Early Bronze Age (Glazkovo: 5200/5000-4000 BP). A major cultural discontinuity is thought to have occurred in the Middle Neolithic (7000/6800-6000/5800 BP). Current and previous research suggests that the Early Neolithic Kitoi were bioculturally distinct from the Late Neolithic-Bronze Age ISG cultural complex. Population, side, sex, and age differences in the expression of non-metric traits were explored as indicators of differing activity patterns and divisions of labour between and within the Kitoi and ISG samples, as well as two Kitoi cemeteries: Shamanka II and Lokomotiv. Results of analyses indicate that the Kitoi, particularly males, were taking part in locomotion over steep terrain while carrying heavy loads, probably related to hunting trips. The ISG do not show evidence of these types of activities, suggesting a population difference in the frequency and degree of physically strenuous activity. Kitoi and Shamanka II males and young adult individuals show evidence of having performed the majority of the strenuous lifting and carrying, as well as evidence of increased mobility relative to females. These results indicative of strong divisions of labour in the Kitoi population. Patterns in trait frequencies were also examined for indications of how multiple underlying factors may be interacting. Trait distribution throughout the body provides evidence of the dominance of biomechanical stress as a causative factor in the expression of postcranial non-metric traits. Other factors that become visible when the influence of biomechanical stress is lower include genotype, trauma, and cartilage degeneration. The results of this project are consistent with current theories on the adaptive regimes of the Kitoi and ISG populations and strongly support previous work by BAP researchers in the areas of skeletal robusticity, osteoarthritis, and musculoskeletal stress markers. The research also helps to broaden the knowledge base about the etiologies of the non-metric traits involved.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
DepartmentAnthropology and Archaeology
ProgramAnthropology and Archaeology
CommitteeCooper, David; Walker, Ernest
Copyright DateMarch 2011