AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 74:185-197 (1987) Demography and Pathology of an Urban Slave Population From New Orleans DOUGLAS W. OWSLEY, CHARLES E. ORSER, Jr., ROBERT W..MANN, PEER H. MOORE-JANSEN, AND ROBERT L. MONTGOMERY Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803 @. U? O., C.E. O.,R.L. M.); Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-0720 (R.U? M.,l? H.MJ.) KEY WORDS Historic cemetery, New Orleans, Paleopathology ABSTRACT Twenty-nine skeletons from the first cemetery in New Orleans provide significant new information about urban slavery in America. Dating as early as 1720 and used perhaps as late as 1810, the cemetery provided an identifiable sample of two whites, 13blacks, one individual of possible Indianwhite ancestry, and two possibly mulatto individuals. Numerous skeIetal and dental lesions were noted in the series, and historical information was used in conjunction with the physical data to draw conclusions about rates and patterns of mortality. PathoIogical changes indicate that the cemetery contained individuals representing two slave occupational groups, house servants and laborers. This research provides information in the expanding area of AfroAmerican biohistorical research. The first official cemetery in New Orleans was located in the block bounded by Toulouse, Burgundy, St. Peter, and North Rampart streets. Archaeological test excavations at this site were prompted by the construction of condominiums disturbing burials that were more than 200 years old. The significance of this cemetery was immediately apparent as no physical remains of an 18thcentury population in Louisiana has previousIy been investigated. Although the location of this below-ground cemetery in the French Quarter of New Orleans was known, no previous archaeologicalresearch had been conducted there. Archaeological testing recovered a limited number of human skeletons. This sample is important because relatively few North American colonial period human skeletal remains have been available for scientific examination (e.g., Angel, 1976; Noel Hume, 1979). As the possibility exists that the burials also included individuals of African ancestry, possible slaves, the sample is equally noteworthy. With exception of only a few reports, little is known about the skeletal biology of historic period negro populations (e.g., Angel et al., n.d.; Beck, 1980; Blakely and 0 1987 ALAN R.LISS, INC. Beck, 1982; Kelley and Angel, 1983; Parrington and Roberts, 1984; Rose, 1985; Thomas et al., 1977). The presentation of a symposium at the 1985 annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists indicates the current scientific interest in this topic (Rathbun and Rose, 1985). The skeletal biology research objective was to derive osteological information about the health, nutritional status, and lifeways of this early New Orleans historic population. The data collected included observations on demographic composition, bone lesions, bone radiography, and dental caries and abscesses. These data form the basis for future descriptive and comparative analyses developed within the context of an increasing interest in the skeletal biology of historic populations. As an urban sample from one of the earliest and most ethnically diverse cities in North America, this series offers great potential as a source of information concerning the rigors of urban existence, as a comparative sample for contrasts with rural population samples, and as a unique source of information about urban slavery. Received April 7,1986; accepted August 6, 1986. 186 D.W. OWSLEY ET AL. Fig. 1. Map of New Orleans, 1731. Courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection, 533 Royal Street, Acc. No. 19126.96.36.199. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND The St. Peter Street cemetery (160R92)was established between 1721 and 1725. It served as New Orleans’ principal cemetery during the French and Spanish colonial periods unti1 the founding of the St. Louis I cemetery in 1789 (Huber, 1974). During the early occupation of the city, as illustrated in the Gonichon map of 1731 (Fig. 11, the cemetery was positioned beyond the levee and drainage ditch, behind the four central blocks representing the core of the French colonial city. A narrow path led t o the cemetery. During the early years the burial ground was surrounded by a wooden palisade and, later, a 5foot brick wall. Being low and swampy, the cemetery was also enclosed by ditches (Wilson and Huber, 1963). The earth excavated from these ditches was used to raise the level of the land. Unlike many of New Orleans’ unique cemeteries of the 19th and 20th centuries, burial was below ground (Wilson, 1974). As the city grew, a new burial site was needed. The old cemetery was so full “that it was very difficult to find a place to bury the dead, as when opening new graves, it was easy to find remains of other bodies which not only caused an inconvenience but also caused bad odors, fearing that due to its proximity to the city, same could spread sickness ....” (Records of the Cabildo 18001802:40).Local physicians expressed concern about the cemetery’sproximity to the expanding populace, as it provided conditions conducive to the outbreak of pestilence. Plans for relocation were proposed in 1788 and later approved by the King of Spain in a letter read to the New Orleans’ governing body, the Cabildo, on August 14, 1789 (Huber, 1974). After the establishment of St. Louis I in 1789, the St. Peter Street cemetery was officially closed to further interments, although archaeological and documentary evidence suggest a brief period of continued use (Huber, 1974; Owsley et al., 1985; Wilson and Huber, 1963).The block was subdivided in 1801 into 187 URBAN SLAVE POPULATION FROM NEW ORLEANS 12 building lots corresponding with those of the original plan of the city (Records of the Cabildo 1800-1802). By the 1820s, all of the lots were sold and in private hands, and the cemetery was largely forgotten. The cemetery served New Orleans for the first 70 years of its early formative period. During that period, the city, under the rule of France and then Spain, grew from an initial founding colony t o a population of nearly 5,000, according to the censuses of 1785 and 1791 (Burson, 1940; Gayarre, 1903). The colonial population was Catholic, and the burial place was administered by the parish church of St. Louis (Huber, 1974). The cemetery served the general community but primarily those of lower socioeconomic status. Prominent individuals were entombed within the church or in a small area adjacent to it (Huber, 1974).A separate burial ground was also established in 1734 for nuns of the Ursuline Convent and their servants at the southeast corner of Chartres and Ursuline streets (Cauvin, 1939). Slaves were among those buried in the St. Peter Street cemetery. According to Article XI of the Black Code, written March 1724, masters were required to bury their Christian slaves in consecrated ground (Gayarre, 1903). Since Article I1 ordered all slaves in the province to be instructed and baptized in the Catholic religion, the probability is high that most of the black burials in the cemetery were those of slaves. Parish priests were vociferous when unlawful burials occurred, and they demanded disinterment and reburial in the cemetery with the rites of the church being administered (e.g., Baudier, 1939). Census data for New Orleans help identify the demographic composition of the population served by the cemetery. The January 1732 listing of inhabitants compiled by Conrad (1970)was tabulated (Table 1). This cen- TABLE 1. Census of New Orleans, January 1732' White males White females Children French servants Negro slaves Free negroes Total 232 169 305 2 247 2 957 'Conrad (1970) sus documents the approximate demographic structure of New Orleans soon after the cemetery was established. A total of 957 individuals, 708 whites and 249 blacks, were counted. With only two exceptions, all blacks were slaves. Population size and composition changed dramatically during succeeding decades. The census of June 1778 was undertaken 10 years before the St. Peter Street cemetery was officially closed (Robichaux, 1977). The size of the population had tripled and now totaled more than 3,000 inhabitants (Table 2). Relative to the earlier census, this listing provides greater detail as to the age structure and racial composition of the city. The majority was still white, although blacks represented a much larger percentage of the population. Including persons of mixed racial heritage, both free and slave, the number of individuals recognized as "colored" nearly equaled the number of whites. A total of 353 negroes and persons of mixed blood were listed as free, as compared with 1,154 slaves. Thus three of every four persons so identified were enslaved. This estimate reflects a considerable increase both numerically and proportionally relative to the preceding decades. The census of 1769, for instance, listed only 99 free persons of color (Evans, 1974). The age structure for whites in 1778 included 507 (32.7%) children, 872 (56.2%)young to mid- TABLE 2. Census ofNew Orleans, June 1778' 49+ Total 0-13 14-49 49+ Total Both sexes (years) Total 101 0 6 1 43 151 829 93 28 106 456 1.512 254 63 8 52 87 464 397 90 46 53 363 949 72 2 23 2 35 134 723 155 77 107 485 1.547 1,552 248 105 213 941 3,059 Male age (years) Race 0-13 14-49 Whites Free, mixed blood Free negroes Slaves, mixed blood Negro slaves Total 253 53 9 72 98 485 475 40 13 33 315 876 'Robichaux (1977). Female age (years) 188 D.W. OWSLEY ET AL. dle-aged adults, and 173 (11.1%)older adults. Counts for all blacks indicate a slightly higher percentage of adults with majority representation found in the middle age category (n = 953, 63.2%). Comparatively fewer (n = 112, 7.4%) individuals were older than 49 years. METHODOLOGY The methodology applied in the determination of age, sex, race, and the coding of bone and dental lesions is described in Owsley et al. (1985). In brief overview, each skeleton was systematically inventoried using a detailed format designed for derivation of precise dental and bone baseline counts. All bones were examined for pathological conditions. X-rays were taken as an aid to the lesion survey. Identification and, where appropriate, diagnosis of lesions were based upon several sources including Ortner and Putschar (1981), Resnick and Niwayama (1981), and Steinbock (1976). The paleopathological observations were scored using a hierarchical approach that descriptively coded lesions according t o the predominant bone cell response-bone loss, bone increase, or resorption plus apposition. This general classification refers to the major changes possible in living bone. A more precise description as to the nature of the pathology was then recorded using specific descriptors. For example, pathologies identified as representing bone increase were classified within several subcategories, such as 1)increase in volume owing to periostitis, 2) increase in volume owing to osteomyelitis, or 3) increase in volume owing to ossified connective tissue (myositis ossificans). Pathologies were also coded for 1) severity, 2) state (i.e., active healing), 3)extent (i.e., local, widespread), and 4) specific location. Changes that were due to degenerative joint disease were scored for presence, location, and severity of hypertrophic bone formation (marginal lipping, osteophytes), porosity, and eburnation (Chapman, 1972; Jurmain, 1975; Ortner, 1968; Palkovich, 1978). Owing to pronounced ante- and postmortem tooth loss, dental caries data were not analyzed on a per individual basis. Rather, the data were tabulated by tooth type (i.e., incisors, canines, premolars, and molars). The presence of one or more lesions per tooth constitutes its designation as carious. The patterning of lesions by tooth type was quantified by sex for two adult age groups to delineate teeth prone to caries. RESULTS Cemetery demography Skeletal remains were recovered for 29 individuals. The sample comprises of one newborn infant, 2 children aged 5-9 years, 3 teenagers aged 15-19 years, and 23 individuals older than 20 years. The oldest age category represented is 50-59 years. The sample of adults (15 years or older) includes 14 males and 12 females. Race assignments were possible for 18 skeletons. Two skeletons were identified as Caucasoid, and 13 were classified as negroid. One child displayed dental features (e.g., shovel-shaped incisors) suggesting possible white and Indian admixture. Cranial and dental morphology for two individuals suggest mixed black and white parentage. The mortality distribution for the cemetery sample is presented in Table 3. This table lists the percentage of individuals represented in each age interval. The series shows an adult bias with an under-representation of subadults, who composed only 10.4%of the burials. Differences in the adult age distributions for males and females suggest differential mortality. Only two (14.3%) young adult males (15-29 years) were identified in the cemetery series, as compared with seven (58.3%) comparably aged females. In this sample, the apparent peak of adult female mortality was age 20-24. The percentage of female deaths remained slightly higher than males through the fourth decade. The maximum mortality peak for males occurred at 40-49 years. Two males were aged 50-59 years; none of the women was identified as being older than 49 years, Given the small number of skeletons recovered for examination, inherent sample bias may misrepresent the actual mortality curve of the colonial population. In this regard, an exciting opportunity for biohistorical research involving the City of New Orleans concerns the possibility for an interdisciplinary approach utilizing the available French and Spanish colonial records. While this topic cannot be explored in detail here, it is appropriate t o document the availability of selected vital statistics records from the 18th century. The Archdiocesan Archives of the Catholic Church of New Orleans maintains a partial record of colonial period interment acts for St. Louis Cathedral (Nolan, 1985, personal communication) with most years after 1770 represented. At our request, translated entries for 1785 and 1786 were graciously made available. These rec- 189 URBAN SLAVE POPULATION FROM NEW ORLEANS TABLE 3. Mortality distributions by age and sex for the cemetery sample and death records for New Orleans. 1785-1786 Male Age (years) Skeletal Birth 1-4 5-9 10-14 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60 + Adult (age indeterminate) Total 1785-1786 Birth 1-4 5-9 10-14 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60 + Adult (age indeterminate) Total N Female % N Total % N % 1 0 2 0 3 3 3 4 7 2 0 4 3.45 0.00 6.90 0.00 10.34 10.34 10.34 13.79 24.14 6.90 0.00 13.79 0 1 2 5 2 0 3 7.14 0.00 7.14 14.28 35.71 14.28 0.00 21.43 2 3 2 2 2 0 0 1 16.67 25.00 16.67 16.67 16.67 0.00 0.00 8.33 14 99.98 12 100.01 29 99.99 30 37 6 5 6 10 15 33 19 24 32 13.82 17.05 2.76 2.30 2.76 4.61 6.91 15.21 8.76 11.06 14.75 10 15 4 7 10 12 6 9 13 11 26 8.13 12.20 3.25 5.69 8.13 9.76 4.88 7.32 10.57 8.94 21.14 40 52 10 12 16 22 21 42 32 35 58 11.76 15.29 2.94 3.53 4.71 6.47 6.18 12.35 9.41 10.29 17.06 217 99.99 123 100.01 340 99.99 1 ords list age, sex, race or social condition, and burial date. Identification of race and social condition was often specific, noting free or slave, white or negro, and various terms representing degree of racial admixture such as griffe (i.e., offspring of a negro and a mulatto). Of available mortality records (cf. Owsley et al., 19851, the 1785-1786 age-sex distribution offers the best comparison for the osteological data because of completeness and the probable interment date of the skeletal sample. The majority, if not all, of the recovered burials date toward the later period of cemetery use. This mortality list provides approximate ages at death for 340 (87.0%) of 391 individuals. Deaths during the first 5 years of life represented 27% of the city’s mortality profile (Table 3). During later childhood, mortality decreased and remained relatively low through the teenage years. Young adults, aged 20-29 years, experienced low mortality, when compared to adults in general, al- though the percentage of fatalities doubled in the next age interval, 30-39 years. The maximum mortality peak of adult deaths apparently occurred after the age of 60. Infant and early childhood mortality percentages were higher for boys than girls. As suggested by the cemetery sample, female deaths were more frequent than male deaths during adolescence and early adulthood. Table 4 presents mean ages at death by race and sex for the total sample (i.e., children and adults) and for adults excluding subadults aged less than 15 years. Group differences were evaluated using analysis of variance statistics (SAS Institute Inc., 1982). A two-factor analysis of variance was used to assess the effects of race and sex on mortality (Table 5). In the total sample, mean ages at death were lower for racially admixed individuals than for persons classified as white or negro. Average ages at death for whites were 30.4 and 27.0 years for males and females, respectively. Corresponding means for blacks were 33.0 and 37.0 years. Differences 190 D.W. OWSLEY ET AL. TABLE 4. Mean age at death by race and sex for the total sample and for adults, 1785-1786 Group White Males Females Negro Males Females Mixed Males Females N Total sample Mean SD 30.36 26.98 23.09 27.39 98 23 42.82 47.87 15.88 22.18 54 62 32.96 36.97 27.73 21.19 36 54 46.75 41.67 23.91 18.44 22 17 10.96 24.24 19.64 27.23 5 10 41.60 40.80 21.97 24.02 Skeletal pathology Each skeleton was examined for pathological features caused by malnutrition, infection, traumatic injury, and degenerative joint disease. Three general categories of observations are presented in this report: 1) general and specific bone pathology scores, 2) numbers of bone fractures, and 3) degenerative changes in joint surfaces. The data are described on a per individual basis. It is necessary to emphasize that bone preservation in this series is relatively poor, and a comprehensive survey of total skeletons was seldom possible. Because of differential preservation, the data synthesis also utilizes counts determined during the collection inventory. TABLE 5. Twefactor analyses o f variance by race and sex for the total sample and adults only Source of variance D.F. Mean square F Total (all ages) Within-groups Between-groups Factors Race Sex Total (adults) Within-groups Between-groups Factors Race Sex 339 336 3 587.25 3,381.83 5.76* 2 1 225 222 3 4,807.92 233.63 8.19* 0.40 366.97 36.14 0.10 2 1 45.07 7.72 0.12 0.02 < ,001. Adults (15 +) Mean SD 141 44 between races were not statistically significant when children were excluded from the analysis. Even though most negroes were slaves, slavery has no apparent detrimental effect on age at death. This issue requires further verification in future investigations. Differences between sexes were not significant at the .05 level of confidence. *Significantat P N Calculation of the various percentages given in the following pages is based on the number of lesions relative to the inventory counts (Owsley et al., 1985). Cranial bones of eight individuals have pathological features characterized by bone loss, bone increase, or, rarely, apposition plus resorption. Bone loss was most often expressed as loss of density owing to porosity. In two individuals the porosity involved the superior orbital borders of the frontal bones. These pathologies were identified as cribra orbitalia, a bony response often associated with anemic conditions. Changes evident in Burial 6 were classified as moderate in expression and active at the time of death. Both individuals were young adult females. The total number of frontal bones in the sample (represented as either complete or partial) was 16. Of this number, 6 are female. Thus 12.5%of the total sample, or 33.3%of the females, show evidence of porosity probably caused by anemia. Porotic hyperostosis was tentatively suggested by the increased thickness of the fragmentary pieces of parietal recovered in one burial. Small benign bone tumors, button osteomas, were observed on the cranial bones of two skulls. Localized periostitis on the inferior border and inner orbital surface of the left eye orbit of Burial 6 indicates inflammation at the time of death. Examples of periostitis and osteomyelitis of the postcranial skeleton were occasionally observed. Six lesions were classified as bone increase owing to inflammation of the periosteum. This total represents six adults and involved one left and two right humeri (3/23, 13.0%),two right femora (2120, 10.0%),and one right fibula (1/22,4.5%).Base counts used in calculation of percentages represent numbers of complete left and right long bones. These examples were fairly minor in expres- URBAN SLAVE POPULATION FROM NEW ORLEANS 191 Fig. 2. Osteomyelitis of right tibia, Burial 23. sion. Chronic osteomyelitis resulting in multiple saucer-like granulomatous lesions, and a large penetrating defect was observed in the right tibia of Burial 23 (1/21, 4.8%;Fig. 2). The right fibula was also infected (1/22, 4.5%).This tibia was examined by Dr. Donald Ortner of the Smithsonian Institution and Dr. Walter Putschar, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. Their evaluation considered the possibility of mycotic osteomyelitis, as well as the standard bacterial osteomyelitis. The latter possibility was preferred, although other possibilities were mentioned. “One possibility that did come up in our discussion of the case was chronic infection resulting from an ankle shackle” (Ortner, 1985, personal communication). Postcranial lesions were primarily classified as increase in bone volume owing to ossification of connective tissues (e.g., myositis ossificans). The list of individuals showing these types of changes on nearly all of their long bones includes Burials 1, 3, 23, and 31. These individuals are older (40+ years) black males (Burial 31, possibly whitehlack). This general pattern reflects a very high level of physical activity and strain, which undoubtedly relates to occupational stress, probably as slaves. These males show hypertrophy of the deltoid tuberosities of the humeri, robusticity of the ulnar supinator crests, proximal elongation of the posterior olecranons (ulnae) owing to ossification of the triceps brachii tendons, and ossification of the biceps brachii tendon insertions on the radial tuberosities of the radii (Figs. 3,4). These areas are major muscle attachments and, for example, concern the flexor, extensor, and supinator muscles of the arm. Changes in muscle attachment sites in the legs are equally profound. Contrasts within the sample are marked. In women, these types of changes are much less frequent and relatively minor, probably reflecting the younger age composition of females and less heavy physical labor. Also, certain older males (e.g., Burials 5, 11, and 16) do not display generalized patterns of bone remodeling and buildup at muscle attachment sites. Skeleton 5 was a white male; the others were black. Bone fractures were observed in three individuals. Burial 5 had three slight depression fractures involving the outer table of the skull. The depression of the frontal bone measured 2.5 x 8.0 mm and indicates active remodeling at the time of death. The other fractures were healed and of long-standing duration. One was on the right parietal and measured 2.0 x 14.0 mm. The fracture site on the occipital bone measured 3.0 x 8.0 mm. This burial also had a compression fracture of one of the lower thoracic vertebra. Burial 1, a black male, had two small (measurements = 0.5 x 10 mm, 1.0 X 24.0 mm) 192 D.W. OWSLEY ET AL. Fig. 3. Hypertrophic ossification of the radial tuberosities, Burial 23. Fig. 4. Proximal prolongation of the proximal olecranons (ulnas) owing to ossification of the triceps brachii tendons, Burial 23. 193 URBAN SLAVE POPULATION FROM NEW ORLEANS depression fractures of the left parietal. Both fractures involved only the outer table and were healed at the time of death. Two healed fractures of the distal ulna were observed in black males (Burials 1 and 3). Fractures of the distal ulna are often referred to as parry fractures, as this fracture often results from using the forearm defensively to ward off a blow. Sixteen distal ulnas are represented in the collection, indicating a fracture frequency of 12.5%. Fifth lumbar spondylolysis was noted in two adult females. This number represents two (50%)of four fifth lumbars recovered in the female sample. Seven fifth lumbars were recovered in males; none showed separation of the neural arch. Arthritic changes in postcranial skeletons were found in eight adult males. Table 6 gives incidence of degenerative changes (i.e., osteophytes, porosity, and eburnation) in males. Glenoid cavities of the scapulae show the highest frequencies of involvement. The most common expression of degenerative arthritis was the presence of osteophytes, and these were generally classified in the slightto-moderate range. With the exception of Burial 12, with moderately severe lipping and porosity of the left glenoid, females do not show these types of changes. Owsley et al. (1985)provide similar data concerning the common occurrence of vertebral osteophytes, ligamentum flava, and Schmorl’s nodes in this series. Schmorl’sdepressions were noted in three males and one female (Burial 12) in 15 thoracic vertebrae (n for adult males and females = 97, 1.5%) and four lumbars (n = 61, 6.6%). Two examples of bony ankylosis were noted in two older (50-59 years) black males, fusion of the second and third cervical vertebrae of Burial 3, and a fused sacroiliac joint in Burial 1. Changes in the joint surfaces and spinal columns of selected individuals compliment the described pattern of hypertrophic bone formation and imply a background of physiological wear and tear. Certain males, but not all, were engaged in heavy physical labor. Concomitant degenerative changes in their skeletons were more pronounced. Transverse lines X-rays taken of relatively complete long bones provided radiographically determined transverse line data for nine left and ten right femora, and seven left and eight right tibiae. This sample represents 12 individuals, eight males and four females. All are adult, and only two individuals are less than 30 years of age. Age is an important consideration in the interpretation of transverse line data, as bone cortex remodeling in older adults tends to remove lines (Garn et al., 1968. Lines, when present, were generally located in the distal diaphysis. Only one line was observed in the proximal femur, and one line was observed in the proximal tibia. The maximum line count for an individual was four in the left femur of an adult male. This individual also had two lines present in the distal left and right tibiae. The highest female count was three lines. In general, transverse lines are relatively infrequent. Average femoral line counts determined using one bone per individual, preferably the left, were 0.6 (n = 8) and 1.0 (n = 3) in males and females, respectively. Mean numbers in the tibia were 1.0 (n = 7) and 0.0 (n = 3). The majority of individuals have no lines. The TABLE 6. Degenerative changes in joint surfaces of adult males: Osteophytes, porosity, and eburnation Osteophytes Left Porosity Right n % Joint surface N n % N Scapula(g1enoid) Prox. humerus Distal humerus Prox. radius Distal radius Box. ulna Distal ulna Prox. femur Distal femur Prox. tibia Distal tibia 7 6 7 7 6 5 71.4 16.7 28.6 28.6 33.3 16.7 0.0 12.5 14.3 16.7 0.0 9 5 7 9 8 1 6 3 8 7 6 6 1 2 2 2 1 0 1 1 1 0 5 9 7 8 8 7 6 2 0 0 0 2 0 3 0 0 55.6 14.3 22.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 28.6 0.0 37.5 0.0 0.0 Left n % 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 14.3 0.0 14.3 14.3 0.0 0.0 33.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 ~Right_ n % Eburnation Left _ _ _Right_ n % n % 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 11.1 12.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 14.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 _ 194 D.W. OWSLEY ET AL. percentage of individuals with a t least one line in the distal femur was 18.2%; the percentage with at least one line in the distal tibia was 40.0%. This observation is consistent with the general view that lines are more common in the distal tibia than on any other bone (Garn et al., 1968). Five of 12 individuals have one or more lines in either the femur or tibia. These observations, as general indicators of childhood stress, provide baseline counts for comparisons with other historic period samples. surfaces than anterior teeth. First molars also erupt earlier than the anterior dentition, which allows a longer duration of food and particle involvement. Total counts for this age category show that 15.4%and 22.2% of the maxillary and mandibular teeth, respectively, were pathological. There appears to be a slight sex difference, with males showing slightly lower total incidence. Older adults experienced higher frequencies of caries of the anterior teeth, as well as continued posterior tooth involvement. The grand total percentage was 25%, as comDental pathology pared with 19.1% for young adults. Because Tooth decay and periodontal disease were of loss of diseased teeth owing to periodontal common problems. The age and sex distribu- disease and periapical abscesses, continuation of carious permanent teeth is given in tion of this high frequency denotes decay of Table 7. Teeth are listed by type and the teeth remaining a t older ages. Among older mandibular and maxillary arcades are tabu- adults, male values were higher than felated separately. The data provide insight as males, although the number of older aged to the age progression of dental decay. Young females was very small. The total combined adults, 15 to 29 years, show high frequencies age and sex caries prevalence rate was 22.3 of posterior teeth involvement in both ar- percent. In addition to a high rate of tooth decay, cades, especially mandibular molars (44% carious). Anterior tooth involvement was rel- periodontal disease and alveolar resorption atively rare. Posterior teeth are morphologi- contributed to antemortem loss of teeth. Alcally more complex and have broader occlusal veolar bone infections were common to the TABLE 7. Distribution of carious permanent teeth by tooth type, age, and sex N 15-29 Years Maxilla Incisors Canines Premolars Molars Total Mandible Incisors Canines Premolars Molars Total Grand total 30+ Years Maxilla Incisors Canines Premolars Molars Total Mandible Incisors Canines Premolars Molars Total Grand total 8 4 6 8 26 Male C 0 0 1 1 2 % N 0.00 0.00 16.67 12.50 7.69 10 15 26 8 2 10 17 37 63 1 0 0 5 6 8 0.00 0.00 16.67 50.00 23.08 15.38 13 11 20 23 67 2 2 6 12 22 15.38 18.18 30.00 52.17 32.84 2 3 3 9 11 0 1 4 4 9 31 0.00 25.00 26.67 18.18 17.31 26.05 0 0 2 6 8 17 4 15 22 52 119 Total % N C % 0.00 0.00 20.00 26.67 23.08 9 4 16 23 52 1 0 0 7 8 14 12.50 0.00 0.00 41.18 21.62 22.22 15 1 5 16 27 63 115 0 1 12 14 22 6.67 0.00 6.25 44.44 22.22 19.13 0 0 0 1 1 0.00 0.00 14 13 23 26 76 2 2 6 13 23 14.29 15.38 26.09 50.00 30.26 11 0 4 1 17 28 60 136 4 6 11 34 0.00 25.00 23.53 21.43 18.33 25.00 ___ 1 0 7 3 6 10 26 52 1 Female C 0.00 33.33 11.11 0.00 0.00 0.00 33.33 25.00 17.65 0.00 0.00 18.75 21.74 15.38 URBAN SLAVE POPULATION FROM NEW ORLEANS TABLE 8. Alveolar bone pathology Adults-sexes combined N __ Maxilla Incisors Canines Premolars Molars Total Mandible Incisors Canines Premolars Molars Total Grand total P % ~ 7 41 21 44 51 157 13 25 49 17.1 19.0 29.5 49.0 31.2 44 22 46 66 178 335 5 2 15 35 57 106 11.4 9.1 32.6 53.0 32.0 31.6 4 N, Nos. of tooth sockets; P, Nos. of tooth sockets affected by periodontal or periapical abscess or antemortem tooth loss; %, percent pathological. extent that among adults 31.6% (49.0-53.0% of the molars) of the tooth sockets were affected by active periodontal or periapical abscesses at the time of death, or already showed antemortern tooth loss and corresponding bone resorption (Table 8). DISCUSSION The osteological research has presented observations concerning cemetery demography and skeletal and dental pathological lesions. Thirty-two burials were located and exhumed. This series includes 26 individuals older than 15 years, two children, one newborn infant, and three who had no bones preserved. Both males and females are represented. Sex differences in the adult age distributions, as ascertained through both death records and the skeletal collection, suggest a slightly higher frequency of young adult female mortality. Evidence for differential mortality by sex is not, however, clearly reflected in the mean ages at death derived from the death records. In other details, the two sources provide only marginal congruence. Along with under-representation of infants, children, and adolescents, the skeletal collection is seemingly deficient in old adults. Most adults were assigned ages of 30-39 years, which provides striking contrast with the death records characterized by a high frequency of older individuals. This variation may simply reflect sampling error, as both samples are limited. It may, however, emphasize current limitations in the recognition and accurate aging of older individuals (Willey and Mann, 1986). This is not to 195 say that the blame lies solely in the osteological record. Further interpretation of the mortality records must also carefully consider inherent defects (e.g., “age heaping”) and other sources of error affecting this type of data. As larger historic period skeletaI samples become available, this general approach should prove instructive. Both sources (i.e. paleodemography based on osteological data and historical demography based on censuses and registration of vital events) used interactively ultimately will provide a better understanding of the biology and historical demography of past populations. The cemetery sample includes both whites and blacks. Most blacks were very likely slaves. In this regard, analysis of the death records for the years 1785-1786 do not show marked differences in mortality by race. This observation requires additional confirmation. Consideration should also be given to the possible effects of racial admixture on preadult survivorship. Race differences observed in the available data indicate shorter average lifespans for children of mixed parentage. Pathological changes most frequently observed in the collection reflect arthritic degenerative conditions or bone hypertrophy, primarily as reflected in ossification of muscle and tendon attachment sites. These features reflect life histories involving high levels of physical labor and strain, perhaps attributable to manual labor on the docks of this busy shipping port or as workers on the canals and levees. Only certain individuals clearly display pronounced patterns of degenerative changes. Others, notably females and selected older males, show less clearly the effects of aging and articular changes owing to degenerative joint disease. This contrast likely provides evidence of social stratification and corresponding occupational differences. For example, Burial 11,an older black male, is differentiated from the others in both archaeological and osteological features. Roman Catholic grave items, including a rosary and a religious medallion, were buried in the coffin, and soil pollen analysis indicates the placing of flowers in the coffin (Owsley et al., 1985). Bone pathologies do not suggest a lifeway characterized by heavy occupational stress. Urban slaves had a different lifestyle than those on the plantations (Boles, 1983; Reinders, 1964). Many of the slaves in New Orleans were domestics, employed as cooks, 196 D.W. OWSLEY ET AL. nurses, house maids, butlers, and coachmen. One contemporary writer, observing the hierarchy of slavery, said that “the chief ambition” of a male slave was “to become master’s waiting-man, or valet,” and “in the case of a female, lady’s maid.” Below these positions in status were housekeeper, chambermaid, steward, dining room servant, or groom, or better still, carriage-driver (Hundley, 1860:351-352). The reason slaves sought these positions, or were happy when they were rewarded with them, was because “they lived well in comparison to the slaves of the plantations” (Fossier, 1957:375).Others were engaged in skilled trades involving carpentry, bricklaying, cabinet making, coach making, painting, and butchering (Boles, 1983; Kendall, 1940). The diversity of labor available in the New Orleans urban setting uniquely differs from the rural pattern of labor, where most workers were engaged in agrarian activities. The effects of these differences are illustrated, for example, when present data are referenced to available data documenting arthritic changes in rural slave population samples (Thomas et al., 1977; Rathbun, n.d.). Plantation slaves from South Carolina display consistently higher frequencies of arthritic changes on major joint surfaces (Rathbun, n.d.). This observation does not make light of the stresses of slavery in this unique southern city. Healed “parry” fractures of two distal ulnas and profound skeletal manifestations of physical stress in these and other individuals imply otherwise. In general, however, variations within the series seemingly reflect the diversity of occupations available t o blacks. Other pathologies include relatively infrequent representation of bone periostitis, osteomyelitis, and slight indications of anemic conditions. Frequencies of cribra orbitalia and porotic hyperostosis and bone infections were less common, and seemingly much less severe, than has been noted in other AfroAmerican samples (Angel et al., n.d.; Rathbun, n.d.; Rose, 1985). Transverse lines of arrested growth occur in relatively low frequency in terms of numerical counts and presence absence representation. Comparable data for historic black slaves in South Carolina, for example, reflect higher mean numbers of lines in male and female tibiae (Rathbun, n.d.1. Dental caries and antemortem tooth loss owing to periodontal disease and abscess formation were common health problems. New Orleans dental pathology statistics are high by worldwide standards, even for agricultural economies (cf. Turner, 1979; Wells, 1975). The frequency and type of caries evident in a population largely depends on the nature and physical consistency of the diet (Powell, 1985; Wells, 1975). In this regard, the physical evidence suggests that the diet in this urban gulfport environment was highly cariogenic. Among foods mentioned in historical descriptions were staples high in refined carbohydrates and sugars, notably corn meal, fine flour, and molasses (Fossier, 1957). During the pre-Civil War era, sugar ranked as the second most valuable crop handled on the wharves of New Orleans, with cane grown and processed on most south Louisiana plantations (Reinders, 1964). In conclusion, the physical evidence from the St. Peter Street cemetery provides new evidence about the nature of slavery in New Orleans and opens up new horizons for the interdisciplinary examination of urban slavery. The evidence presented suggests that the slaves buried in this cemetery may have lived slightly better lives than those on rural plantations. This conclusion, however, must be tentative because no comparable skeletal series from south Louisiana is available for examination. Nonetheless, the methods and approaches used at this cemetery are now being applied at two 19th century New Orleans’ cemeteries, and the body of comparable data is expanding. When the results of these investigations are known and when a rural sample is collected, we will be in a much better position to contribute to the biohistorical understanding of American urban and rural slavery. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Archaeological testing of the St. Peter Street cemetery benefited from assistance provided by many individuals. E. Thomas and David A.Tortorich gave permission to work at the site. Salvadore Anzelmo, City Attorney for New Orleans, and Thomas M. Finney, Director of Communications and Public Relations, Archdiocese of New Orleans, provided invaluable support for testing. Dr. J. Richard Shenkel contacted us about the site and helped gain access to the property. We thank the Rev. Monsignor Earl C. Woods, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of New Orleans Archives for granting access to 18thcentury death records. Dr. Charles E. Nolan compiled the archival material. Drs. Richard L. Jantz, William M. Bass, Donald J. Ortner, URBAN SLAVE POPULATION FROM NEW ORLEANS Kim N. Schneider, Steven A. Symes, and Mary H. Manhein contributed greatly to the osteological analysis, and Claudia C. Holland assisted with the archival and archaeological research. 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