Date of Award

5-2014

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Anthropology and Sociology

Committee Chair

Marie E. Danforth

Committee Chair Department

Anthropology and Sociology

Committee Member 2

H. Edwin Jackson

Committee Member 2 Department

Anthropology and Sociology

Committee Member 3

Amy Young

Committee Member 3 Department

Anthropology and Sociology

Abstract

This research examines the health experiences of early eighteenth-century European immigrants to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Most were low-status individuals forcibly expulsed from France and brought to Biloxi to colonize Louisiana. Historical records report the immigration effort was poorly provisioned and that large numbers died from malnutrition and disease soon after arrival. The remains of 30 adults, presumably colonists from this period based on collagen dating and grave goods, have been recovered at the Moran site (22HR511). DNA analysis (n = 8) suggests all are European. Most are males, and only one lived past age 40. Estimated mean height is 165.1cm for males (n = 15) and 155.49cm for females (n = 3), which is several centimeters shorter than contemporary European populations. Hypoplasias were found on 13 of 20 individuals scored with nine showing multiple episodes. Most lesions were of moderate severity, and ages at formation ranged broadly between two and five. Porotic hyperostosis was seen in several individuals, but all cases were slight. Frequencies for caries and antemortem tooth loss were relatively low, and periosteal lesions suggestive of infectious disease were rare. Arthritis is uncommon, as would be expected given the young age at death for most. Trauma also is infrequent, but two crania do display possible healed blunt force trauma. The population as a whole fits the expected demographic profile of a colonial settlement. The health patterns revealed also accord with individuals who endured harsh childhoods and died from acute rather than chronic causes as they sought new lives in the New World.

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