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Investigations of possible cases of scurvy in juveniles from the Kellis 2 cemetery in the Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt, through stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic analysis of multiple tissues

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Date Issued:
2018
Abstract/Description:
Vitamin C deficiency, or scurvy, is a disease that can occur in humans at any age and has been seen throughout time. Scurvy affects the production of connective tissues, including collagen, which leads to the many symptoms of the disease, including fatigue, anemia, bleeding gums and lost teeth, skeletal changes, and even death. The Kellis 2 cemetery in the Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt, in use from approximately AD 50-360, contains the remains of many juveniles who exhibit skeletal indicators of scurvy. Tissue samples from juveniles who did (n=31) and did not (n=117) exhibit skeletal indicators of scurvy were analyzed isotopically, with the sample including stable carbon (?13C) and nitrogen (?15N) isotope values of bone collagen (scurvy =11, non-scurvy =13), hair (scurvy=21, non-scurvy=112), nail (scurvy =10, non-scurvy =44), and skin (scurvy =19, non-scurvy =59). Intra-tissue comparisons were conducted to determine whether this disease affects ?13C and ?15N values sufficiently to distinguish these two groups from one another isotopically. Inter-tissue comparisons between bone collagen and hair were also conducted, with emphasis placed on inter-tissue spacing results and outliers. Mean ?13C and ?15N values for each hair segment were compared to look for early isotopic signals of scurvy. No statistically significant differences were found between any intra-tissue scurvy and non-scurvy cohorts and no obvious indications of the onset of scurvy were seen in the hair segment analyses. The inter-tissue spacing results, however, highlighted some interesting patterns in the bone collagen-to-hair values, especially in regards to the identified outliers that are discussed in more detail. While this study did not detect any significant differences between scurvy and non-scurvy cohorts or early isotopic signals of the disease in hair segments, the inter-tissue spacing results do point to changes between the cohorts that may be attributable to the physiological stress of scurvy and therefore warrants further investigation.
Title: Investigations of possible cases of scurvy in juveniles from the Kellis 2 cemetery in the Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt, through stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic analysis of multiple tissues.
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Name(s): Chasse, Georgina, Author
Schultz, John, Committee Chair
Wheeler, Sandra, Committee CoChair
Dupras, Tosha, Committee Member
Williams, Lana, Committee Member
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2018
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Vitamin C deficiency, or scurvy, is a disease that can occur in humans at any age and has been seen throughout time. Scurvy affects the production of connective tissues, including collagen, which leads to the many symptoms of the disease, including fatigue, anemia, bleeding gums and lost teeth, skeletal changes, and even death. The Kellis 2 cemetery in the Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt, in use from approximately AD 50-360, contains the remains of many juveniles who exhibit skeletal indicators of scurvy. Tissue samples from juveniles who did (n=31) and did not (n=117) exhibit skeletal indicators of scurvy were analyzed isotopically, with the sample including stable carbon (?13C) and nitrogen (?15N) isotope values of bone collagen (scurvy =11, non-scurvy =13), hair (scurvy=21, non-scurvy=112), nail (scurvy =10, non-scurvy =44), and skin (scurvy =19, non-scurvy =59). Intra-tissue comparisons were conducted to determine whether this disease affects ?13C and ?15N values sufficiently to distinguish these two groups from one another isotopically. Inter-tissue comparisons between bone collagen and hair were also conducted, with emphasis placed on inter-tissue spacing results and outliers. Mean ?13C and ?15N values for each hair segment were compared to look for early isotopic signals of scurvy. No statistically significant differences were found between any intra-tissue scurvy and non-scurvy cohorts and no obvious indications of the onset of scurvy were seen in the hair segment analyses. The inter-tissue spacing results, however, highlighted some interesting patterns in the bone collagen-to-hair values, especially in regards to the identified outliers that are discussed in more detail. While this study did not detect any significant differences between scurvy and non-scurvy cohorts or early isotopic signals of the disease in hair segments, the inter-tissue spacing results do point to changes between the cohorts that may be attributable to the physiological stress of scurvy and therefore warrants further investigation.
Identifier: CFE0007164 (IID), ucf:52273 (fedora)
Note(s): 2018-08-01
M.A.
Sciences, Anthropology
Masters
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): Bioarchaeology -- stable isotope analysis -- paleopathology -- juvenile scurvy -- inter-tissue spacing -- Egypt
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0007164
Restrictions on Access: campus 2019-08-15
Host Institution: UCF

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