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The Bioarchaeology of Life, Death, and Social Status in the Early Bronze Age Community at Ostojićevo, Serbia

Pompeani, Katherine (2020) The Bioarchaeology of Life, Death, and Social Status in the Early Bronze Age Community at Ostojićevo, Serbia. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation applies a biocultural approach to examine how gender, age, and social status shaped morbidity and mortality in the Late Maros (1930-1550 BCE) population at Ostojićevo, Serbia. Patterns in demography, paleopathology, trauma, and diet were considered in the context of larger political, economic, and social processes that affected the health and subsistence practices of Early to Middle Bronze Age populations in the Carpathian Basin. Information on burial treatment from site reports was compared with data from human skeletal analysis (n = 229). Age estimation and sex determination were used to assess demographic structure. Skeletal and dental pathology were used to evaluate population health. Comparative data on demography and dental disease from the nearby Early Maros (2100-1800 BCE) cemetery at Mokrin was adapted from published datasets. Stable isotope analysis of human bone collagen was conducted to examine dietary patterns in a subset of adults at Ostojićevo (n = 38) and Mokrin (n = 13).

Child mortality was ~42% for individuals <3 years-at-death at Ostojićevo. Among individuals >15 years, males died at a higher rate in their second and third decades, with only ~6% surviving past 50 years compared to ~21% of females. These differences can be attributed to a higher prevalence of perimortem trauma consistent with interpersonal violence in adolescent and young adult males. Dietary patterns also supported sex-specific disparities in health and behavior. Females exhibited significantly higher rates of dental disease indicating a more cariogenic diet than age-matched males at Ostojićevo but not at Mokrin. Furthermore, δ13C and δ15N values suggest young adult females consumed less animal protein than males and older females at Ostojićevo, whereas there was no significant difference in diet at Mokrin. This contrast in sex- and site-specific dietary patterns indicates local and diachronic differences in access to subsistence resources. Specifically, the health status of women of childbearing age at Ostojićevo reflects a greater trade-off between nutritional status, systemic health, and fertility than at Mokrin. Together, the emergence of gendered differences in diet, interpersonal violence, and morbidity support conditions of increasing economic and political instability from the Early to the Middle Bronze Ages in northeast Serbia.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Pompeani, Katherinekpompeani@pitt.edukmh1300000-0002-7256-3692
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSchwartz, Jeffreyjhs@pitt.edujhs
Committee CoChairHanks, Bryanbkh5@pitt.edubkh5
Committee MemberJudd, Margaretmjudd@pitt.edumjudd
Committee MemberWerne, Josefjwerne@pitt.edujwerne
Date: 16 September 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 4 December 2019
Approval Date: 16 September 2020
Submission Date: 5 August 2020
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 566
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Anthropology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bioarchaeology, Bronze Age, Serbia, Maros, Paleopathology, Diet, Gender, Violence
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2020 14:54
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2022 05:15

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  • The Bioarchaeology of Life, Death, and Social Status in the Early Bronze Age Community at Ostojićevo, Serbia. (deposited 16 Sep 2020 14:54) [Currently Displayed]


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