Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



This study focuses on radii excavated from the Poole-Rose ossuary and analyzes the occurrence and patterning of degenerative joint disease (DJD) on the proximal and distal joint surfaces. The Poole-Rose ossuary, located in eastern Ontario, is dated to A.D. 1550 +/- 50. The Poole-Rose population, dating to the Late Woodland period, were agricultural in their subsistence activities. The disarticulated patterning of the skeletal remains suggests this site was associated with the “Feast of the Dead,” a mass interment burial ceremony. This ceremony took place about every eight to twelve years. Frequencies of lipping, porosity, and eburnation were reported in degree of severity for the proximal and distal joint surfaces. The results of this study are comprised of qualitative and quantitative analyses, including frequencies and co-occurrences of degenerative changes by joint surfaces. These results indicate that a combination of stress factors and possibly systemic factors are involved and responsible for the onset of DJD. Pitting alone appears to represent initial changes, while lipping and eburnation, most often accompanied by pitting, represent the more moderate and severe cases. Generally speaking, pitting is the most frequent characteristic of DJD, proximal lipping is less frequent than distal lipping, and eburnation occurs in about 3.5% of all specimens. The results of cross-tabulations indicate a statistically significant relationship between lipping and pitting on each joint surface, with the distal joint surface being affected more frequently by degenerative changes. Eburnation occurs in every case with lipping and pitting. Occurrence of degenerative changes suggests no statistically significant differences between the left and right sides. The Poole-Rose population was not subjected to severe levels of mechanical stress that might aggravate the onset of DJD or its initial changes.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

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Committee Chair

Heather McKillop