Annals of Carnegie Museum 76 (4), 265-278, (1 February 2008) https://doi.org/10.2992/0097-4463(2008)76[265:AOAOTH]2.0.CO;2
KEYWORDS: bioarcheology, Costa Rica, Cartago Phase, paleopathology
This paper presents an analysis of human cranial remains from the Cartago Phase (Period VI, A.D. 1000–1550) in the Central Highlands Region of Costa Rica. The collection was likely obtained by Carl Vilhelm Hartman, Curator of Ethnography and Archaeology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, in 1903 during his seven month field expedition to Costa Rica. Aside from the geotemporal context, little is known about the sample, because it was not excavated through systematic archaeology. Bioarchaeology in Costa Rica is restricted due to the poor preservation of biological material because of acidic volcanic soil and high humidity. Large scale looting of archaeological sites has been an unfortunate part of Costa Rican history, and sites have been completely decimated by the hands of looters. This analysis provides information and contributes to the limited corpus of comparative Costa Rican skeletal data that can be utilized for future research.
Ten crania were analyzed for demographic, metric, nonmetric, and pathological conditions. Substantial dental disease was present in the sample. All individuals exhibited periodontitis, and many demonstrated calculus, antemortem tooth loss, abscessing, and carious lesions. Porotic hyperostosis was recorded with varying levels of severity in six of the adult individuals and the juvenile, in whom cribra orbitalia was also noted. Interesting nonmetric traits were identified that demonstrated within-group variation.