Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



Dr. Heather McKillop of Louisiana State University was asked by the Alderville First Nation of Ontario in 1990 to excavate the Poole-Rose ossuary in 1990. This mass burial consisted of hundreds of mixed disarticulated and de-fleshed individuals as well as three articulated individuals laid in flexed positions. No artifacts were discovered with the bodies. Due to the absence of stratified soil layers from different periods, McKillop estimated the ossuary occurred during one burial event- “The Feast of the Dead.” Radiocarbon dating found the ossuary to be from A.D. 1550 ± 50 years (McKillop and Jackson 1991). I estimated sex according to measurements that fall below or rise above the means of femoral and tibial midshaft anteroposterior and mediolateral diameters (Dap and Dml; Dmax and Dmin, respectively), circumferences, and external breadth index (Dap/Dml). I also calculated sexual dimorphism of the Poole-Rose samples from those femoral and tibial midshaft measurements and measurements of the nutrient foramina anteroposterior/mediolateral ratio (Dmax/Dmin). I compared Poole-Rose sample means to Christopher Ruff’s (1987) similar reports of measurements in hunter-gatherer, agriculturalist, and industrialist samples. I also compared Poole-Rose means to Patricia Bridges’s (1989) study of femoral and tibial midshaft circumferences of agriculturalists and hunter-gatherers. This study tests the hypothesis that agricultural populations have lower sexual dimorphisms of the femur and tibia when compared with hunter-gatherer populations. I studied 325 tibiae and 281 femora. I assigned sex to 293 tibiae (146 females and 147 males) and 229 femora (113 females and 116 males). The Poole-Rose sexual dimorphism of femoral midshaft external breadth index was lower than Ruff’s (1987) hunter-gatherer samples and fell within the range of Ruff’s agricultural sample sexual dimorphisms. Poole-Rose tibial midshaft and nutrient foramina external breadth indices are higher than Ruff’s (1987) hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists. Poole-Rose femoral midshaft external breadth indices almost equal to Ruff’s (1987) Georgia Coast sample mean of agriculturalists. Poole-Rose femoral and tibial midshaft circumference means are also higher than Bridges’s (1989) hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists.



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Committee Chair

Robert Tague