Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Dr. Andrew Nelson


Skeletal remains recovered from the Late Horizon Inca site of Farfân on the North Coast of Peru showed high prevalence of vertebral wedge deformities in all age categories. This thesis employs a multi-method approach to the identification of the vertebral wedge deformities, through the use of three non-destructive methods. Among myriad possible causes considered, two potential conditions, osteopenia and Scheuermann’s Kyphosis, were identified through the use of differential diagnosis. However, differentiation between these conditions required the analysis of bone mineral density (BMD) and microarchitectural changes. Three imaging modalities, dual-energy x- ray absorptiometry (DXA), micro-computed tomography (microCT) and

radiogrammetry, were employed to examine fourteen variables in twenty-nine rib samples representing four age categories. Four individuals were identified as having Scheuermann’s Kyphosis, one was osteopenic and three were undetermined. These results are placed into a biocultural context through a discussion of the potential physical and social consequences of these conditions.



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