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Understanding Social Performance in the Distant Past


Why are some regions rich & healthy, others poor & unhealthy? ... Anthropology; Ellen Mosley-Thompson, Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Understanding Social Performance in the Distant Past

Understanding Social Performance in the Distant
  • Richard H. Steckel
  • SBS Distinguished Professor
  • Economics, Anthropology and History Departments
  • Ohio State University
  • Columbus, OH 43210
  • Steckel.1_at_osu.edu
  • Kim Tae Sung Memorial Seminar
  • March 16, 2006
  • http//web.econ.ohio-state.edu/rsteckel/vita.pdf

GDP Per capita and Latitude
Life Expectancy and Latitude
(No Transcript)
Policy Issues Why are some regions rich
healthy, others poor unhealthy?
  • Geography climate, soil, terrain, water,
    mineral resources
  • Huntington (1924) geographic determinism
  • Diamond (1997)
  • Sachs (2001)
  • Versus
  • Human creations technology, education,
    institutions, law
  • Becker (1964)
  • Landes (1969)
  • North (1990)
  • Acemoglu (2001) institutions rule

Why a Millennial Perspective?
  • Immense laboratory for study of human behavior
  • Transitions
  • Hunter-gatherer to farming or pastoralism
  • Urbanization
  • Global exploration and colonization
  • Industrialization
  • Assumed problem meager evidence

Traditional Measures of Social Performance in the
  • Life expectancy
  • GDP
  • Heights from historical records
  • Limitations
  • Lack of data for distant past
  • Doubtful comparability of monetary measures over
    long periods
  • GDP includes only goods and services that flow
    through markets
  • Heights emphasize the childhood health experience

Skeletal Remains A Hubble Telescope for the
Social Sciences
  • Advantages
  • Available over thousands of years
  • Extensive geographic and ethnic coverage
  • Extensive information available on health while
  • Comparable across widely different cultures and
  • Other information archaeology, historical
    documents, climate history
  • Limitations
  • Skeletons register chronic conditions only
  • Sampling issues
  • Uncertainty over age at death for older ages
  • Uncertainty about age at which biological stress

Dual Aspects of Health
Backbone of History
Goals of Western Hemisphere Project
  Describe health over very long periods of
time   Analyze or explain changes and differences
in health   Implications   Place pre-Columbian
health in perspective relative to that of
post-Columbian Native Americans, whites and
Western Hemisphere Sample
Health and Nutrition in the Western
Hemisphere Collaborators and Localities of
Burial Sites
  • George J. Armelagos, Gerry Boyce, Peter J.
    Brown, Jane E. Buikstra, Cindy Condon, Keith
    Condon, Alfred Crosby, James Davidson, Andres
    Del Angel, Alan H. Goodman, Myron Gutmann,
    Michael R. Haines, Ann Herring, Rosanne L.
    Higgins, Ron Hoppa, Susan Klepp, Clark Larsen,
    Lourdes Marquez Morfin, Debra Martin, Robert
    McCaa, Walter Neves, Linda A. Newson, James
    Oberly, Douglas Owsley, Ted A. Rathbun, Daniel
    T. Reff, Jerome C. Rose, S. Ryan Johansson,
    Lars G. Sandberg, Shelly Saunders, Larry
    Sawchuk, Paul W. Sciulli, Joyce E. Sirianni,
    Paul S. Sledzik, Vernon Smith, Richard H.
    Steckel, Ann L.W. Stodder, Rebecca Storey,
    Russell Thornton, Douglas H. Ubelaker, Phillip
    L. Walker, Lorena Walsh, Verônica Wesolowski

Skeletal Measures of Health
  • Individual Identification
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Height
  • Dental Hypoplasia
  • Anemia
  • Cribra Orbitalia
  • Porotic Hyperostosis
  • Dental Decay
  • Carious Lesions
  • Abscesses
  • Ante-Mortem Tooth Loss
  • Arthritis
  • Infection
  • Trauma
  • Specific Diseases

Scoring pathological lesions
  • Stature continuous
  • Hypoplasias 3 categories
  • Anemia 3 categories
  • Dental continuous
  • Infections 4 categories
  • DJD 2, 4 or 5 categories
  • Trauma 2 categories

Constructing a Health Index
  • Score pathological lesions for each attribute
  • Construct age-specific rates of scores
  • Weigh age-specific rates by relative number of
    person-years lived in model west, level 4
  • Assume independence of attributes
  • Weigh attributes equally

Health decline in WH
Ecological variables settlement pattern,
domestic plants, elevation, vegetation, topography
Components Affected by Ecological Variables
negative unless otherwise indicated
Average Values of Ecological Variables
A History of Health in Europe from the Late
Paleolithic Era to the Present A Research Project
by  Richard H. Steckel Clark Spencer Larsen Paul
W. Sciulli Phillip L. Walker   Collaborators
Pia Bennike, Laboratory of Biological
Anthropology, Panum Institute, Copenhagen Joel
Blondiaux, Centre d'Etudes Paleopathologiques du
Nord Miguel C. Botella, Dept. Anthrop. Facultad
de Medicina, Univ. Granada John Brooke, History
Department, Ohio State University Yuri K.
Chistov, Physical Anthropology Department, Museum
of Anthropology Ethnography (Kunstkamera),
St.-Petersburg Alfredo Coppa, Dept. of Human
Animal Biology, Univ. of Rome Eugénia Cunha,
Departamento de Antropologia, Universidade de
Coimbra Ebba During, Department of Archaeology,
Stockholm University Paul Evans, Economics
Department, Ohio State University Brian Fagan,
Anthropology Department, University of California
Santa Barbara Michael Haines, Economics
Department, Colgate University Barbara Hanawalt,
History Department, Ohio State University Henrik
Jarl Hansen, Archaeology, Nationalmuseet,
Denmark Per Holck, Anatomical Institute,
University of Oslo Rimantas Jankauskas,
Department of Anatomy, Histology and
Anthropology, Vilnius Univ. George Maat, Dept of
Anatomy, Leiden Antónia Marcsik, University of
Szeged, Department of Anthropology Ellen
Mosley-Thompson, Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio
State University Astrid E. J. Ogilvie, Institute
of Arctic Alpine Research, University of
Colorado Luiz Oosterbeek, Archaeology, Instituto
Politécnico de Tomar Anastasia Papathanasiou,
Greek Ministry of Culture, Athens Geoffrey
Parker, History Department, Ohio State
University Inna Potiekhina, Institute of
Archaeology, National Academy of Sciences of
Ukraine Charlotte Roberts, Department of
Archaeology, University of Durham Randy Roth,
History Department, Ohio State University
Michael Schultz, Zentrum Anatomie der Universit,
Gottingen Maria Teschler-Nicola, Dept. of
Archaeology, Biology and Anthropology, Natural
History Museum, Vienna Lonnie Thompson, Byrd
Polar Research Center, Ohio State
University.   http//global.sbs.ohio-state.edu
Skeletal Data Collection 100,000 from 400 Sites
Collect Environmental or Contextual Information
about Sites
  • Archaeological artifacts
  • Housing, home furnishings, pottery, tools, etc.
  • Historical documents
  • Census, parish records, court documents,
    contracts, art, etc.
  • Climate history
  • Tree rings, lake sediments, ice cores, etc.
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Physical environment latitude and longitude
    organization of data from satellite images, etc.

Define Templates to Condense Site Information
  • Index of material standard of living
  • 5 categories
  • Index of socio-economic inequality
  • 5 categories
  • Climate
  • 5 point categories for temperature and for
  • Metrics for physical environment
  • Elevation, terrain, proximity to coast,
    vegetation, biomass, etc.

Estimate Models Health and the Natural
  • HI ?0 ?1P ?2C ?3S
  • HI health index
  • P physical environment
  • C climate
  • S socio-economic environment

Some Extensions
  • Estimate life tables
  • Health of women and children
  • Long-term trends in trauma and violence
  • Socio-economic inequality and health
  • Co-evolution of humans and pathogenic organisms
  • Health and the rise and fall of civilizations
  • Early childhood biological stress and adult
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