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Bones of ComplexityBioarchaeological Case Studies of Social Organization and Skeletal Biology$
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Haagen D. Klaus, Amanda R. Harvey, and Mark N. Cohen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062235

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062235.001.0001

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Health Status and Burial Status in Early China

Health Status and Burial Status in Early China

Chapter:
(p.173) 7 Health Status and Burial Status in Early China
Source:
Bones of Complexity
Author(s):

Ekaterina Pechenkina

Ma Xiaolin

Fan Wenquan

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813062235.003.0007

This chapter quantifies and compares mortuary pattern grammars and skeletal health markers between the sites of Xipo (Yangshao culture, a Middle Neolithic chiefdom ca. 4000–3000 B.C.) and Xiyasi (a site participating in the state-level, stratified Eastern Zhou dynasty ca. 770–221 B.C.). At Xipo, health patterns display no statistically significant differences across the three archaeologically defined social strata, even when taking into consideration sex-based burial variation. In contrast, the Xiyasi sample from Bronze Age Zhou displays a mortuary program based on social status, age, and sex, dividing the population into four ranked groups. Elite burials (mostly men) evidently possessed worse oral health, likely owing to differential consumption of status-linked foods. Pechenkina and colleagues encounter yet stronger associations between sex and specific funerary contexts especially in the Eastern Zhou. Increasing social complexity appears to have been most directly associated with changes in sex (and by inference, gender)-associated social roles.

Keywords:   Early China, mortuary pattern grammars, skeletal health markers, Yangshao culture, Eastern Zhou dynasty

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