A skeletal comparison of the demography and health status of pre- and post-European contact African groups from northern Zimbabwe

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Steyn, Maryna en
dc.contributor.postgraduate Swanepoel, Elaine en
dc.date.accessioned 2015-07-02T11:06:20Z
dc.date.available 2015-07-02T11:06:20Z
dc.date.created 2015/04/24 en
dc.date.issued 2015 en
dc.description Thesis (PhD)--University of Pretoria, 2015. en
dc.description.abstract From the 1650s and corresponding with a trade in African slaves, the livelihood, health and life expectancy of indigenous groups were reported to decline as many Zimbabwean settlements changed their identities due to European influence. In this study, human skeletal remains from three archaeological sites from northern Zimbabwe were investigated to compare the health status of the people that it represents, pre-and post-European contact, to ascertain whether this was indeed the case. The Monk’s Kop (A.D. 1270-1285) and Ashford Farms sites (A.D. 1330-1440) date back to a period prior to European contact, whereas the Dambarare site (A.D. 1630-1693) represents a population consisting of both Africans and the Europeans they were in contact with. This study led to the re-discovery of the Monk’s Kop archaeological site and in particular indicated that the remains most probably resemble the high social status members of the society. In the Monk’s Kop’s skeletal collection (n =43), 14% of individuals presented with signs of skeletal pathology while the corresponding figure was 43% in the Ashford Farms individuals (n=7). The Dambarare sample comprised a total of 40 individuals (both African and European ancestry) of which 43% of the Africans had visible signs of skeletal pathology and included the southernmost case reported for trephination in Africa. Although the pre-European contact populations of Monk’s Kop and Ashford Farms therefore seemed to have suffered less (28% combined average) from pathological conditions in comparison to that of the Dambarare individuals of African ancestry (43%), the difference was not statistically significant. Although most preversus post-contact investigations report that the biological and cultural effects on the native population was catastrophic to their health, it seems that the first Europeans (particularly the Portuguese) that came into contact with the previously isolated indigenous northern Zimbabwean population, had a minor effect on the people that they interacted with during the 17th century. The Europeans from Dambarare, in contrast, showed many skeletal signs that reflect a less healthy population which, most probably, was due to both the poor socio-economic conditions in their home country and the impact of a long voyage to Africa. It should be kept in mind that the skeletons may not have represented all of the once living populations. en
dc.description.availability Unrestricted en
dc.description.degree PhD en
dc.description.department Anatomy en
dc.description.librarian tm2015 en
dc.identifier.citation Swanepoel, E 2015, A skeletal comparison of the demography and health status of pre- and post-European contact African groups from northern Zimbabwe, PhD Thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd <http://hdl.handle.net/2263/45997> en
dc.identifier.other A2015 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/45997
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher University of Pretoria en_ZA
dc.rights © 2015 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria. en
dc.subject UCTD en
dc.subject Health Status
dc.subject Tooth modification
dc.subject Palaeopathology
dc.subject Skeletal remains
dc.title A skeletal comparison of the demography and health status of pre- and post-European contact African groups from northern Zimbabwe en
dc.type Thesis en


Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record