Linear and appositional growth in infants and children from the prehistoric settlement of Ban Non Wat, Northeast Thailand: evaluating biological responses to agricultural intensification in Southeast Asia

Dhavale, Neha, Halcrow, Sian E., Buckley, Hallie R., Tayles, Nancy, Domett, Kate M., and Gray, Andrew R. (2017) Linear and appositional growth in infants and children from the prehistoric settlement of Ban Non Wat, Northeast Thailand: evaluating biological responses to agricultural intensification in Southeast Asia. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 11. pp. 435-446.

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Abstract

The bioarchaeological model of health change predicts a deterioration inpopulation health with the adoption and intensification of agriculture. However, research in mainland Southeast Asia challenges this model, showing no clear pattern of health deterioration associated with the intensification of rice agriculture. Childhood growth, a sensitive indicator of general population stress, is used in this paper to test the applicability of the bioarchaeological model at the prehistoric site of Ban Non Wat in Northeast Thailand. Agricultural intensification at Ban Non Wat is most apparent in the Iron Age rather than the earlier periods. Linear and appositional growth patterns of infants and children (n = 95) at Ban Non Wat were compared among the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age periods (1750 BCE–430 CE) to assess differences in growth patterns associated with agricultural intensification over time. Comparative analysis of linear growth found no evidence for differences among the chronological phases at the site. A detailed assessment of appositional growth from the larger Bronze Age sample showed no evidence for extreme nutritional stress. These findings are consistent with other bioarchaeology health research in prehistoric Southeast Asia. A gradual transition to intensified agriculture over time and retention of a broad-spectrum based diet at Ban Non Wat may have provided a buffer from the biological stress exhibited in other parts of the world during agricultural intensification.

Item ID: 47021
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2352-409X
Keywords: childhood growth, subsistence, physiological stress
Additional Information:

© 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Funders: Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ), Earthwatchers Corp, University of Otago
Projects and Grants: RSNZ Marsden Fund
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2017 00:11
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210103 Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160102 Biological (Physical) Anthropology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950502 Understanding Asias Past @ 100%
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