Date of Award

Fall 12-1-2015

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Anthropology and Sociology

Committee Chair

Marie E. Danforth

Committee Chair Department

Anthropology and Sociology

Committee Member 2

Edwin Jackson

Committee Member 2 Department

Anthropology and Sociology

Committee Member 3

Amy L. Young

Committee Member 3 Department

Anthropology and Sociology


The biocultural examination of the Archaic population recovered at Oak View Landing (40DR1) investigates the lifeways and adaptations of prehistoric people as they reflect sociopolitical and subsistence strategies.

A comprehensive bioarchaeological analysis was conducted on the adult individuals (18 males, 16 females, 16 of indeterminate sex) excavated from a multiple occupation site located along the Tennessee River in Decatur County, Tennessee. Skeletal indicators used to understand biocultural phenomena were assessed macroscopically on cranial and postcranial elements. Furthermore, mortuary data, for adults and subadults, were used to determine any patterns of preferential treatment at death.

Results from this study indicate that these individuals were tall in stature and experienced a low prevalence of metabolic disease (0/43) and infection (4/50). Rates of arthritis (20/50) and trauma, especially to cranial and forearm bones, (14/50) were high. Archaic populations have been shown to be highly active; thus the high prevalence of arthritis and trauma is not unexpected. Surprisingly, oral health showed a higher frequency of pathologies than expected, possibly due to increased exploitation of starchy seeds, as did the frequencies of linear enamel hypoplasias. With exceptions, the results from this study were congruent with other foraging groups. However, they may have experienced hardships due to harsh seasonal conditions resulting in increased competition for resources as shown by the morbidity observed in males, and the high rate of violent trauma, especially in females. Therefore, lifeways during the Archaic were not as homogenous as traditionally thought.