Sex roles in prehistoric Alabama: a bioarchaeological investigation of the Bluff Creek (1lu59) site using paleopathological and trauma analysis

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University of Alabama Libraries

In the 1930’s and 1940’s the Tennessee Valley Authority conducted excavations of thousands of prehistoric human remains in the Middle Tennessee River Valley of Alabama. This research focuses on the prehistoric site of Bluff Creek (1Lu59) and uses a stratified random sample to study how sex roles might be recognized through analysis of the skeleton. The Bluff Creek site was chosen because the occupation of the site spans from the Archaic through the Mississippian periods allowing for an extended look at possible specified sex roles, or changes in those roles, in prehistoric Alabama. The skeletal sample (n=70) consists of those individuals who could have sex and age assessed. Pathologies and trauma noted on the remains were examined macroscopically for location, severity, and side of the body. Chi-Square and Fisher’s Exact tests were run on the collected data. There were no statistically significant results derived from any of those tests. The research hypothesis that there were defined sex roles at the Bluff Creek site in prehistoric northwestern Alabama was not supported.

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