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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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Skeletal Morphology and Social Structure in Ancient Egypt

Skeletal Morphology and Social Structure in Ancient Egypt

Hierarchy, Gender, Body Shape, and Limb Proportion (4000–1900 BC)

(p.111) 5 Skeletal Morphology and Social Structure in Ancient Egypt
Bones of Complexity

Sonia Zakrzewski

University Press of Florida

The study of human skeletal remains from ancient Egypt helps understand effects of emergent and entrenched differences in social differentiation and hierarchy between 5500 and 1785 B.C. This work focuses on diachronic patterns of terminal adult stature and limb proportions in Egyptian samples from the relatively egalitarian Badarian peoples through the highly complex and stratified Middle Kingdom. This diachronic approach suggests a number of complex outcomes, including that adult mean statures increased from Badarian to Late Predynastic times but declined into the Middle Kingdom. Increasing degrees of sexual dimorphism and changing limb proportions also speak to the intertwined effects of social hierarchy, gendered social divisions, and the plasticity of human growth in ancient Egypt.

Keywords:   ancient Egypt, terminal adult stature, growth, gender, plasticity

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