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Tracing Prehistoric Activities: MSM Analysis of a Stone Age Population on the Island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies. Osteoarkeologiska forskningslaboratoriet.
2006 (English)In: American Journal of Physical Anthropology: The Official Journal of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, ISSN 0002-9483, Vol. 129, no 1, 12-23 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The skeletal remains from the Middle Neolithic (2750-2300 BC) burial ground at Ajvide, Gotland, are analyzed with the endeavor to explore musculoskeletal patterns and attempt to trace general, as well as, three specific prehistoric activities, archery, harpooning and kayaking, that are likely to have been performed in this marine setting of fishing, hunting, and gathering. Scoring of muscular and ligament attachments is performed using Hawkey and Merbs´ (1995) scoring method for Muskuloskeletal Stress Markers (MSM). The skeletal material consists of 24 male and 15 female adult individuals divided into three age groups: Young (<24 years), middle (25-39 years) and old (>40 years) adults. Thirty upper body MSM sites, on both the left and right sides, are scored and form the basis of the study.

Results show that males most frequently have higher mean MSM scores than females. Bilateral asymmetry was noted as being low in both sexes. Age proved to be a contributing factor to increased MSM scores, with a greater age-related increase in females. MSM patterns were analyzed statistically in muscle groups associated with the three investigated activities. Significant positive correlations were observed in male individuals in muscle groups associated with archery and to some extent harpooning, an indication that these activities would mainly have been performed by men.

Correlations in kayaking muscles were not evidently consistent with the kayaking motion. Furthermore, the costoclavicular ligament, often being referred to in connection with “Kayakers clavicle”, showed no positive statistical correlation with the kayaking muscles.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 129, no 1, 12-23 p.
Keyword [en]
musculoskeletal stress markers, Pitted Ware culture, Neolithic, Sweden, Gotland
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-17174DOI: doi:10.1002/ajpa.20234OAI: diva2:183694
Available from: 2009-01-08 Created: 2009-01-08 Last updated: 2011-01-11Bibliographically approved

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