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Life and Death on the NileA Bioethnography of Three Ancient Nubian Communities$
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George J. Armelagos and Dennis P. Van Gerven

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813054452

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813054452.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

Health and Disease

Health and Disease

The Adults

(p.121) 5 Health and Disease
Life and Death on the Nile

George J. Armelagos

Dennis P. Van Gerven

University Press of Florida

We present our studies of the adults at Wadi Halfa and Kulubnarti from the perspective of three common pathologies: tooth wear (dental caries and abscess), age-related bone loss (osteopenia), and trauma (bone fractures). The comparison of wear, caries, and abscess at Wadi Halfa revealed a greater degree of dental pathology during X-Group times compared with the Meroitic period. This is consistent with a shift toward a more agrarian lifestyle and the consumption of less highly processed food. The studies of age-related bone loss at Wadi Halfa were among the first to demonstrate a significant loss of bone among females as compared with males – this is a pattern consistent with male-female bone loss differences today. The osteopenia research was also among the first to demonstrate a pattern of pre-menopausal bone loss consistent with the dietary stresses faced by women during their reproductive years. The studies of bone fractures at Kulubnarti showed a high frequency of forearm (ulna) fractures compared with bone fractures in other populations, both prehistoric and modern. This is consistent with the constant danger of falls while moving through the rocky and boulder-strewn terrain in a region described in Arabic as Batn el Hajar (belly of the rock).

Keywords:   Dental caries, Dental abscess, Osteopenia, X-Group diet, Agrarian, Fractures, Reproductive years, Pre-menopausal bone loss

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