Investigations into Paleopathology of Unique Individual in CA-Ala-329

Title of Project(s)/Program:Burial 97: A Pain in the Head, Neck and Chest

Primary Investigator: Denise Frazier

Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Elizabeth Weiss


In the population of California hunter-gathers, CA-Ala-329, there is an adult male (burial 97) that has an infection on the mastoid process, sternum and severe osteoarthritis on the vertebrae. Burial 97 is the only individual with an infection on the mastoid process within CA-Ala-329. This individual has particularly severe osteoarthritis on the cervical (neck) vertebrae with the fusion of C-2 and C-3 and the most affected sections occurring on the right side. Osteoarthritis is typically seen more severely in the lumbar (lower back) vertebrae, than the cervical vertebrae. Burial 97 exhibits only slight signs of osteoarthritis in the joints of the long bones, an anomaly when compared to the severity in the vertebrae; however, severe osteoarthritis is found on the wrist bones.  Medical and anthropological literature will be reviewed to recreate this individual’s activity patterns, identify the probable cause of infection, the infections’ effect on quality of life and its possible correlation to the individual’s osteoarthritis pattern. CA-Ala-329 has been studied for approximately fifty years and is still providing new information. Many researchers have looked at the population as a whole, but studies of individuals provide a closer look at daily life. This work allows for the continued accumulation of data on this population as well as providing a comparative study for future academics.







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