Title page for ETD etd-0409103-130641

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Lund, Erin Suzanne
URN etd-0409103-130641
Title An Anthropological Examination of Classic Maya Burials from Moho Cay, Belize: Skeletal and Dental Evidence of Demography, Diet, and Health
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Geography and Anthropology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Heather McKillop Committee Chair
Mary H. Manhein Committee Member
Robert Tague Committee Member
  • taphonomy
  • stature
  • dental study
  • skeletal pathology
  • cultural modification
  • osteology
  • burials
  • Maya
  • dental modification
Date of Defense 2003-04-04
Availability unrestricted
In the Maya area, archaeological excavations have yielded an abundance of skeletal material from a multitude of sites throughout Belize, Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras. In 1979, a series of excavations led by Heather McKillop at Moho Cay, Belize, revealed a number of human interments. This thesis analyzes the Moho Cay skeletal collection composed of remains from eight discrete Late Classic (A.D. 600-800) burials and nine other archaeological units.

Skeletal and dental analysis of the remains included assessing minimum number of individuals per burial and establishing age and sex for each individual. The bones were also examined for signs of skeletal and dental pathology, as well as cultural modifications. Additionally, this thesis includes chi-square analysis of the occurrence of dental pathology and level of attrition as related to tooth class.

As pathologies of the skeleton are direct reflections of the individualís diet and health, the findings of this analysis present a picture of the health and diet of the Moho Cay community. Overall, this study has found that the Moho Cay Maya had moderate dental health and good overall health since few cases of skeletal pathology were observed. The results of this research do not corroborate the hypotheses of Late Classic decline in public health.

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