Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



This thesis is an analysis of the clavicles from a pre-contact (1550 A.D. ±50 years) native ossuary burial from Ontario, Canada. The Poole-Rose ossuary clavicles were analyzed for demography, pathological processes, trauma, and cultural modifications. Demographic markers on the clavicles are derived from the minimum number of individuals (MNI) estimation, medial epiphyseal age, and sex. Pathological processes are indicated by the presence of degenerative joint disease (DJD), periosteal reactions, and lytic lesions. Trauma includes healed fractures and cuts from defleshing of the clavicles. The presence of pre-burial cut marks is an indication of cultural modifications that were likely part of a ritual ceremony similar to the Huron “Feast of the Dead.” An MNI of 196 individuals was determined based on the right lateral epiphysis of the clavicle. A very significant amount of DJD was present in the acromioclavicular joint as compared to the sternoclavicular joint. Active periosteal reactions of the clavicle were more frequent than healed reactions. Clavicular lesions were significantly associated with adult individuals, but tended to affect the side and joint of the bone to similar degrees. Healed fractures of the clavicle were rare in the ossuary population. Cut marks tended to consist of fewer than 10 cuts on major muscle attachment sites. A very significant association existed between the presence of a rhomboid fossa and age of the individual. The metric analysis of the Poole-Rose ossuary clavicles includes similar correlations between length and robusticity of both left and right bones. However, right bones were more variable in curvature than left bones, possibly owing to general right-handedness. Size differences between mean metric values of left and right clavicles were not significant. Based on the clavicle, the population seems to have been in general good health, with unusually low rates of antemortem injury. However, the existence of clavicular lesions suggests some instance of disease in a few individuals. Variable right curvatures of the clavicle could indicate a preference for right-handedness in the population. Future research of other Poole-Rose ossuary bones may yield insight into the clavicular traits brought to light in this study.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

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Committee Chair

Manhein, Mary