Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Anthropology and Sociology

Committee Chair

Marie Danforth

Committee Chair Department

Anthropology and Sociology

Committee Member 2

Edwin Jackson

Committee Member 2 Department

Anthropology and Sociology

Committee Member 3

John G. Bailey

Committee Member 3 Department

Biological Sciences


This study compares three methods for the evaluation of morphology of musculoskeletal attachment sites. Two methods were macroscopic and the third was microscopic, utilizing three-dimensional laser scanning and fractal analysis The morphology of 19 upper limb attachment sites was observed in 33 males aged 15 and 30+ years, dating to the Archaic and Mississippian periods from the southeastern U.S. It was hypothesized that 1) the microscopic method would identify subtler differences than the macroscopic methods; 2) enthesis development would be greater in the Mississippian population due to the increased subsistence workload, even among younger individuals; and 3) late adolescents would show similar patterns of enthesis development as their older counterparts.

The microscopic method failed to show the same patterns observed with the macroscopic methods. The majority of variation was between the two macroscopic methods but little difference was seen between the two methods. In the Archaic sample most activity was found among the older age sets whereas in thee Mississippian sample, it was found in the younger age sets, including late adolescents. Most differences seen were in scoring Robusticity rather than Osteolytic or Osteophytic Activity. In all instances, late adolescents in this study followed the general pattern set by the other age sets. The results of this study suggest that three-dimensional scans, at this point may not be optimal for MSM research. Additional research scrutinizing the way MSM are scored and how bone response to mechanical strain is needed before more confident interpretations can be made based on the data.