Date of Award

Summer 2023

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Dr. Marie Danforth

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Bridget Hayden

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. Sharon Young

Committee Member 3 School



Tipu is a contact period Maya site in western Belize where a mission church and cemetery was established around AD 1560. An archaeological excavation in the 1980s recovered the remains of more than 550 individuals. In its unique location on the fringes of Spanish control, Tipu was the site of both acceptance of introduced cultural traits as well as rebellion against them. The series has been intensively studied over the last decades, but an analysis of anemia using more recently developed and widely accepted standards has not yet been completed. Therefore, I scored adults using the new widely accepted standards in order to better understand the health of those at Tipu and the impact of colonization on the site.

Some 81 adults were evaluated for porotic hyperostosis, and 60 individuals scored for cribra orbitalia focusing on differences by sex, age and sex interaction, and status by proxy of burial location. Overall, rates of the conditions were intermediate compared to those at other Maya sites. Younger adults had high, but still moderate rates of porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitalia, males had higher rates of porotic hyperostosis than females, and young males had the highest rates of all subgroups. However, there was no discernible status by burial location. This study supports other evaluations of health at the site that Tipu has moderate rates of porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitalia and the population was relatively healthy despite Spanish colonization.