A Paleodemographic Study of Mortality in 1st century BC/AD Petra, Jordan
The 1st century BC to 1st century AD population of Petra appears to have rarely suffered from infectious diseases based on the low frequency of pathological bone lesions in skeletons recovered from tombs on the site's North Ridge. However, many infectious diseases in the past killed their hosts before a skeletal lesion could form, rendering their effects essentially invisible in ancient populations. Cemetery-level age-at-death profiles can provide an important supplementary record of disease-related mortality by distinguishing between samples created by catastrophic events, such as disease epidemics, versus a normal attritional cemetery sample that accumulates over time. Here, age-at-death estimates for 70 individuals, out of a current MNI of 120, were estimated using cementochronology, which not only provides more accurate age estimates, but increases our sample size of ageable individuals limited by the fragmented and commingled nature of the Petra assemblage. A Gompertz-Makeham hazard model was used to calculate mortality risk by age in this sample. The age-at-death results and the results from the parametric hazard modeling suggest that mortality peaked for the North Ridge population around the age of 50-55 and that they experienced relatively low age-specific risk of mortality for a pre-industrial, urban population. When compared to the contemporaneous population of Isola Sacra, the results indicate a significant difference in age-specific mortality between the North Ridge population and Isola Sacra where the North Ridge population has a significantly lower age-specific mortality risk. A comparison of these two populations suggest that the political-economic environment, nutritionally adequate diet, the urban environment, and regional demography culminated in low prevalence of paleopathological conditions and may begin to explain the relatively low age-specific mortality risk for this population.
Propst, Akacia. (July 2017). A Paleodemographic Study of Mortality in 1st century BC/AD Petra, Jordan (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/6362.)
Propst, Akacia. A Paleodemographic Study of Mortality in 1st century BC/AD Petra, Jordan. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, July 2017. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/6362. June 19, 2018.
Propst, Akacia, “A Paleodemographic Study of Mortality in 1st century BC/AD Petra, Jordan” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, July 2017).
Propst, Akacia. A Paleodemographic Study of Mortality in 1st century BC/AD Petra, Jordan [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; July 2017.
East Carolina University