Intrapopulation growth variation analysis using femur length: the case of Martigues plague victims (south of France – 1720-1721)

Abstract : An individual’s living conditions, which comprises e.g. nutritional state, social status, gender inequalities and access to medical care, can influence his/her stature by 20%. Therefore, in the bioarchaeological context, stature analysis has been used to evaluate past populations’ living conditions. To reconstruct stature, researchers usually apply regression models based on length of long bones, especially the femur, which best represents stature. In this work, we examine femur length of 96 adults from mass graves located at the city of Martigues (Provence - France). They were victims of the plague episode that affected Provence region in 1720-1722, known as the Great Plague of Marseilles. It is known that, before the epidemic, inhabitants of Provence suffered several starvation episodes. Hence, we aim to (1) evaluate whether all social groups, divided according to age, gender and location at the archaeological site, were equally affected by these famines; (2) investigate how differently men and women suffered from them; and (3) link the age classes with three starvation episodes in that region, whose periods are known. Unlike previous studies, we directly analyse the measured femur lengths instead of predicted statures, to avoid modelling errors.
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https://hal.univ-cotedazur.fr/hal-02025667
Contributor : Luana Batista Goulart <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 5:34:19 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, August 31, 2019 - 10:38:02 AM
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Luana Batista Goulart, Stefan Tzortzis, Isabelle Séguy, Gérald Quatrehomme. Intrapopulation growth variation analysis using femur length: the case of Martigues plague victims (south of France – 1720-1721). 19th Annual Conference of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology (BABAO), Sep 2017, Liverpool, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-02025667⟩

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