Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Smith, Maria Ostendorf

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Anthropology


Medical anthropology--Illinois; Human remains (Archaeology)--Illinois; Osteoarthritis--Illinois


This study investigates the patterns of human osteoarthritis involvement for the shoulder, elbow, hip, and knee of two Late Woodland sites. The sites of Schroeder (11HE177) and Kuhlman Mounds (11AD163) are located in West- Central Illinois along the bluffs of the Mississippi River valley. The purpose of this bioarchaeoiogical analysis is to establish regional trends in osteoarthritis distribution. Contrasts will focus on site, sex, age, and side-related differences in the prevalence of the disease and in the severity of degenerative changes. The osteological sample includes individuals 15 years and older and is composed of 54 individuals from Schroeder Mounds and 66 individuals from Kuhlman Mounds. The scoring system employed for the inspection of degenerative changes was based on an ordinal scale, reflecting severity. Diagnosis of osteoarthritis based on these scores was made based on the presence of eburnation or multiple osteoarthritis characteristics. Differences that emerged from the analysis of these samples revealed that the pattern of distribution of osteoarthritis was: ELBOW > KNEE > HIP > SHOULDER. Site differences were found only in the instance of greater severity of Schroeder Mounds elbow scores in comparison with Kuhlman Mounds. Sexlinked patterns of greater male involvement and severity of osteoarthritis were found for the joints of the elbow and knee, possibly indicating a sexual divison of labor. Age was a significant factor in the progression of degenerative changes only for the hip joint. The right and left sides of individuals revealed a pattern of symmetry for the severity of osteoarthritis. These patterns are similar to those found in the Lower Illinois Valley as well as other prehistoric sites. The results of this study broadly correlate with the information known about the Late Woodland period for this region; however, small sample sizes and the ambiguity of the etiology of osteoarthritis make any specific conclusions unwarranted. With future research the results from this study can be utilized to broaden our knowledge of activities within the western region of Illinois.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [115]-126)


xiv, 146 pages




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