Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Anthropology (Forensic Anthropology Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Ashley McKeown

Commitee Members

Randy Skelton, Wade Davies


osteoarthritis, paleopathology, prehistoric Native Americans


University of Montana


Changes in bone morphology have always been a concern of physical anthropologists who are trying to explain a culture's everyday activity. These types of changes, including arthritic and musculoskeletal, are based on subjective observation of the researcher and therefore subject to observer error. I used three samples; the Indian Knoll sample, the Nutwood and Rosedale Mound sample, and a control sample from the Terry collection I was able to employ a scoring method based on Hawkey (1988). This current research uses the scoring method for arthritic changes in women to test for changes in patterns of distribution and/or severity when the women transitioned from hunting and gathering to agriculture. This scoring method provides quantifiable data to use for statistical analysis. The observations and scoring method highlight patterns in osteoarthritis which may be interpretable between and within samples. This research found that no single feature of osteoarthritis is significant on its own but looking at several joints and the emerging patterns we can infer stress level changes and possibly narrow these changes down to the types of subsistence activities the individuals participated in. Understanding the change in women before and after the transition to agriculture allows archaeologists to construct a better picture of the daily activity and labor divisions based on age and sex for the population.



© Copyright 2008 Kirsten Anne Green