The occurrence of vertebral osteophytosis among the archaeological populations of Cochiti, New Mexico
Kahl, Kirsten Elizabeth
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211 skeletons from pre-European archaeological sites near modern Cochiti Pueblo in northern New Mexico were examined. Only 43 adults were of sufficiently good preservation and identifiable age and sex to be of use in this study. Each individual was examined for occurrence of vertebral osteophytosis. Frequency, severity, and location of osteophytosis were recorded and quantified. Individuals in the age category of 30-50 were the focus of chi-square statistical tests. Gender-specific patterns emerged but because of the small sample sizes, the tests revealed no statistically significant differences. Despite the lack of statistical significance, a slight predilection for males in the frequency of osteophytosis was noted. Males also manifested more severe osteophytosis overall, especially in the cervical and lumbar vertebrae, than did the females. The greatest concentration of osteophytosis along the vertebral column occured where the pressure on the spine is greatest. This pattern is strongly linked in both males and females to stresses caused by bipedalism, but localized differences may also be a result of gender-specific activities, as suggested by clinical studies and corroborated by comparative archaeological populations.