Publication Date

10-1-1993

Abstract

This paper presents bio-anthropological data concerning the Shanidar cave, Proto-Neolithic, Homo sapiens population at the dawn of sedentary life in SW Asia. It was proposed that changes in human organizational systems and perceived environmental contexts, as reflected by ecofacts and tool assemblages, indicating the intensification of harvesting of resources during this Proto-Neolithic cultural component, could have altered existing interrelationships between pathogens, vectors, and human hosts. The individuals comprising the skeletal collection represent both sex subcategories and most age subgroups. Further, no evidence of bio-distance has been documented between them judging from morphometrics and mensurational analyses. Paleopathological investigations of the skeletal record revealed the presence of infectious diseases, lesions of the joints, lesions of the jaws and teeth, benign tumors, hemopoietic and metabolic disorders, as well as severe traumatic conditions. Bone isotopic testing for investigations of dietary patterns indicated a diet heavily based on C3 plants, while the animal protein component was calculated to an intake of less than 10%. The paleopathological profile in conjunction with the archeometric studies, and the rest of the archaeological record present significant reflections of the lives of these Proto-Neolithic people in SW Asia, during this transitional time period.

Journal/Book Title

Human Evolution

Volume

8

Issue

4

DOI

10.1007/BF02438114