Journal of Cave and Karst Studies - ISSN 0146-9517
Volume 59 Number 3: 160-165 -December 1997

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Osteological Comparison of Prehistoric Native Americans from Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee Mortuary Caves
C. Clifford Boyd, Jr. and Donna C. Boyd


The remains of at least 160 individuals from 15 burial caves in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee are compared in terms of their temporal and spatial context, age and sex profiles, incidence of pathologies, and degree and type of postmortem alteration of bone. Individuals appear to have been interred predominantly as primary inhumations. Dental pathologies are frequent for these Late Woodland/Mississippian period interments, but overall levels of nutritional stress and trauma appear low. This suggests a generally good level of health for these prehistoric Native Americans.

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