Linear enamel hypoplasia (LEH) is treated as a nonspecific indicator of stress, but even so, many authors consider it the most reliable tool stress in anthropological research. Its analysis allows the reconstruction of health related to the socio-economic status of the group. This study documents and interprets patterns of LEH in Żerniki Górne (Poland), a settlement which was functional in the Late Neolithic and the Early Bronze Age. We examined two successive cultures: the Corded Ware Culture (CWC; 3200-2300BC) and the Trzciniec Culture (TC; 1500-1300BC). In total, there were 1486 permanent teeth (124 adult individuals). The frequency of LEH in the examined cultures shows a small rising trend. In these series from Żernik Górne, males showed a higher occurrence of LEH (16.5%) than females (13.4%). The earliest LEH appeared at similar ages at about 2.0/2.2 years and the last LEH occurred at about 4.2 years of age in both cultures. However, it is worth noting that periods associated with physiological stress were more common but not very long (four months on average) in the CWC. Longer stress periods (nine months on average) were associated with the TC.
Several studies have shown that sex estimation methods based on measurements of the skeleton are specific to populations. Metric traits of the upper long bones have been reported as reliable indicators of sex. This study was designed to determine whether the four long bones can be used for the sex estimation of an historical skeletal population from Radom (Poland). The material used consists of the bones of 169 adult individuals (including 103 males and 66 females) from the 18th and 19th centuries. Twelve measurements were recovered from clavicle, humerus, radius and ulna. The initial comparison of males and females indicated significant differences in all measurements (p < 0.0001). The accuracy of sex estimation ranged from 68% to 84%. The best predictor for sex estimation of all the measurements in Radom’s population was the maximum length of the radius (84%), and the ulna (83%), and the vertical diameter of the humeral head (83%). The Generalized Linear Model (GLM) detected the strongest significant relationship between referential sex and the vertical diameter of the humeral head (p < 0.0001), followed by the maximal length of the ulna (p = 0.0117). In other measurements of the upper long bones, GLM did not detect statistically significant differences.
According to medical knowledge, physical activity plays a role in osteoarthritic changes formation. The impact of occupation on osteoarthritic changes development in past human populations is not clear enough, causing problems with interpretation. The aim of the current study is to examine the relationship between osteoarthritis and entheseal changes. Skeletal material comes from the late medieval, early modern population from Łekno (Poland). The sample consists of 110 males and 56 females (adults only). Osteophytes, porosity and eburnation were analyzed in the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle. Entheses on the humerus, radius, femur, and tibia were examined. Standard ranked categorical scoring systems were used for the osteoarthritic and entheseal changes examination.
Males with more developed osteophytes in the shoulder have more “muscular” upper limbs (higher values of muscle markers). Males with more developed osteophytes in the hip and knee are predicted to have more “muscular” lower limbs. Males with more developed osteoarthritis in the shoulder, wrist, hip, and knee exhibit more developed entheseal changes. Males with more developed entheses tend to yield more developed osteophytes (all joints taken together) and general osteoarthritis (all changes and all joints taken together). Females with more developed entheses have more developed osteoarthritis in the elbow, wrist, and hip. Individuals with more developed entheses have much more developed osteophytes. When all the three types of changes are taken together, more “muscular” females exhibit more developed osteoarthritis. The lack of uniformity of the results, wild discussions on the usage of entheses in activity patterns reconstruction and other limitations do not allow to draw unambiguous conclusions about the impact of physical activity on the osteoarthritis in past populations and further studies are needed.