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Morphological affinities and demography of metal-age Southwest Asian populations.

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AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 59:47-60 (1982)
Morphological Affinities and Demography of Metal-Age
Southwest Asian Populations
TED A. RATHBUN
Department of Anthropology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina
29208
KEY WORDS
Skeletal remains, Southwest Asia, Metal ages, Morphology, Demography
ABSTRACT
Multivariate and cluster analyses of human skeletal remains of
seven regional groups and nine individual sites and periods reveal different patterns of relationships for the sexes. This complex pattern of morphological a n ities probably depends on differential demographic features.
Traditional morphological studies of the pop- than proper excavation and reportage of huulations of Southwest Asia from the metal ages man remains have hampered attempts to inhave attempted to trace migrations and recon- terpret the population dynamics in the area.
struct racial histories of the area (Buxton and Preservation has been good at some sites, but
Rice, 1931; Cappieri, 1969, 1970; Field, 1932, local conditions and vagaries of excavation in
1947; Finkel, 1974; Krogman, 1940; Rathbun, early periods of less rigorous archaeological
1972; Swindler, 1956). Much of the archaeo- control have resulted in skeletal collectionsthat
logical literature focuses on trade, contact, and often are fragmentary, lack individual temmigration in discussions of the formation dy- poral designations, and in some instances have
namics of state level organizations (Speiser, not been analyzed by professional physical an1930; Gelb, 1961; Halder, 1965, Moorey, 1970; thropologists. Even though such a state of afGibson, 1972; Adams, 1974; Cowgill, 1975; fairs is regrettable, lack of precision and ideal
Wright and Johnson, 1975; Kohl, 1978). Al- data sets can be offset by analyses which prothough migration and population movements duce suggestions for subsequent investigation
documented by protohistorical sources have as better samples become available. Even limbeen invoked to explain sociocultural dynam- ited results and interpretations, with defects,
ics, univariate analyses of skeletal material are better than nothing at all, especially if they
have revealed a basic stability of the mor- are regarded as suggestive and not necessarily
phology of the populations in the area over definitive with provisions for revision as cirtime (Cappieri, 1969,1970; Finkel, 1974;Rath- cumstances warrant.
bun, 1972, 1975).
Metrics
The present attempt at synthesis of regional
The
primary
data
in this study are drawn
grouping data uses multivariate analysis to
document the generalized morphological dis- from my own work with the skeletal collections
tances among the populations in that area. The from Kish, Iraq; Hasanlu, Iran; and Dinkha
cluster analyses of seven regional groupings Tepe, Iran (Rathbun, 1975, 1972, n.d.1. The
and nine individual sites and periods indicate compiled data for the regional groups are from
distinct patterns of relationships for males and Cappieri (1969).Data from individual sites used
females. The analysis of individual popula- for comparisons include Nippur, A1 'Ubaid and
tions from the Mesopotamian valley and the Ur in Iraq, and Tepe Hissar, Iran (Swindler,
Iranian plateau reveals a more complex pat- 1956; Cappieri, 1970; Krogman, 1940).
All of the populations analyzed data from the
tern of morphological affinities which probably
depends on the demographic features of the metal ages. The areal groups, A1 'Ubaid, and
Ur are from the Copper and Bronze Ages, and
groups.
the remaining populations span the Iron Age.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The approximate dates range from 3,500 B.C.
Although archaeological excavation has been
h i v e d September 8,1981;accepted March 16,1982
intense in Southwest Asia for some time, less
0002-9483/82/5901-0047$04.00 0 1982 ALAN R. LISS. INC.
48
T.A. RATHBUN
to 200 B.C. Such large time spans are less than
ideal for precise interpretations of population
dynamics, but univariate analyses of individual sites and their components as well as superpopulations and regional groupings revealed a basic stability in the areas and major
cultural divisions (Finkel, 1974; Cappieri, 1969,
1970). Small sample sizes from shorter time
components at each site or in each region during the Copper through Iron Ages preclude accurate statistical manipulation. Lack of time
precision may be partially compensated by
larger pattern documentation which will be
subject to revision as new data allow. Sites,
regional groupings, sample sizes, sources, and
temporal data are summarized in Table 1.
The metric data on individuals from Kish,
Hasanlu, and Dinkha Tepe were collected following the techniques described by Bass (19641,
Vallois (1965), and Howells (1973). The reliance on published data carries with it the possibility of interobserver error which can cloud
definitive statements, but the measurements
included here are standard ones not requiring
sophisticated instruments or extensive training. The landmarks are distinctive and readily
located. Published methodological accounts for
the analysis of groups not personally examined
seem to be comparable, although slight interobserver error might contribute to minor mean
differences. In a few cases small sample sizes
necessitated the insertion of the average mean
value and standard deviation from the Kish
pooled data for a missing component in individual periods at Kish. The pooled data values
from the site, rather than other statistical estimates, were used since the pooled data would
span the range of variation for each period. The
distance measures were calculated from the
same variables for all groups.
Standard descriptive statistics were calculated by the “SPSS condescriptive” procedures
for Kish, Hasanlu, and Dinkha Tepe. Summary statistics for other groups came from
published sources. The variables, values, and
measures of generalized distances are presented in tabular form.
Numerous statistical tools have been developed to study the affinities of human populations (Weiner and Huizinga, 1972; Constandse-Westermann, 1972). As Conuccini
(1975) points out, each technique has its limitations and should be used for data that meet
the basic statistical assumptions. After searching the literature for comparative materials
and assessing the descriptive statistics from
the Kish cultural periods, the Penrose (1954)
generalized distance ( C 2 / ~ seemed
)
most appropriate since it utilized means and standard
deviations rather than demanding raw data
unavailable for the published comparative materials. The correspondenceof the Penrose statistic with the more sensitive Mahalanobis one
has been shown to be high (Hiernaux, 1964).
TABLE 1 . Populations and sources for distance and cluster analysis
1. Troad 35 adult crania (Cappieri, 1969) 3200-1500
B.C. Ha-Nai-Tepe(16). Hissarlik (ll),Kum-Tepe
(4), Muskebi (31, Baba Koy (1).
2. Anatolian: 93 adult crania (Cappieri, 1969)
3750-1300 B.C. Alishar Huyuk (271, OsmankayasiBoghaz Koy (16), Alaca Huyuk (13), Tilki-Tepe
(12), Sheysk Huyuk-Tell Esh-Sheikh (5), Kusura
(5), Ahlati-Li Be1 (5), Yumuk-Tepe (3), Polati
Huyuk (2), Altin-Tepe (21, Buyuk Gulucek (l),
Acem Huyuk (l),Evdi Tepesi (1).
3. Syro-Palestinian:78 adult crania (Cappieri, 1969)
3000-1400 B.C. Ras Shamra-Minet El Beida (33),
Megiddo (32), Byblos (lo),Kafer Edj-Djarra (3).
4. Turkmenian: 77 adult crania (Cappieri, 1969)
4000-1200 B c Kara Tepe-Geoksur (371, Koktcha
(28), Takhibray (3), Serakhs (2), Namazga-Tepe
(2), Anau (2), Tup-Khona (l),Chust (l),Vuadil (1).
5. Indian: 103 adult crania (Cappieri, 1969) 3000-1500
B.C. Harappa (64), Mohenjo-Daro (12), Langhnaj
(E), Lothal (8), Nevasa (4), Gedrosia (2), ChanhuDaro (l),Chandoli (l),Nal (l),Sialkot (11, Quetta
(1).
6. Nippur: 35 adult crania (Swindler, 1956) 626-141
B.C.
7. A1 ’Ubaid 11 adult crania (Cappieri, 1970) ca. 3000
B.C.
8. Ur Pooled 11 adult crania (Cappieri, 1970)
3500-1700 B.C.
9. Tepe Hissar: 155 adult crania (Krogman, 1940)
3500-2000 B.C.
10. Hasanlu IV: 52 adult crania (Rathbun, 1972)
1100-800 B.C.
11. Dinkha Tepe: 30 adult crania (Rathbun, n.d.1
1900-800 B.C.
12. Kish neo-Babylonian:8 adult crania (Rathbun, 1975)
1150539 B.C.
13. Kish Early Dynasty 111: 22 adult crania (Rathbun,
1975) 2600-2350 B.C.
14. Kish Unknown: 61 adult crania (Rathbun, 1975)
2900-141 B.C.
15. Mesopotamian: 56 adult crania (Cappieri, 1969)
4800-1500 B.C. Kish (22), Ur 1141,A1 ’Ubaid (12),
Tepe Gawra (4), Assur (3), Jemdet Nasr (1).
16. Iranian: 190 adult crania (Cappieri, 1969) 4100-1300
B.C. Tepe Hissar (156), Tepe Sialk (14), Shah-Tepe
(ll),Hasanlu (51, Luristan (Tepe Bad Hora, Tepe
Giyan, Tepe Jamshidi) (3). Tchoga Zambil (1).
METAL-AGE SW ASIA
The program was written and checked using
the data and results of a similar study of North
American Indians (Bass et al., 1971).
The generalized distance values were used
as input for the “Osiris hierarchical” cluster
procedure. These values expressed the relative
similarities of a whole set of variables as viewed
in a matrix, and do not account for significance
levels. The cluster procedure is relative and
searches out the most similar populations to
form an initial cluster. Each subsequent population added to the original cluster must show
mutual affinities to all the previously included
samples. Thus when a new population is added
to the matrix, the whole pattern of relationships must be reevaluated. The results of the
cluster analysis for area groups and individual
sites and periods are discussed subsequently.
49
age. This limitation is expecially true for the
Kish material because of the fragmentation
and the necessity for the “indeterminate” adult
category.
Sex diagnosis depended on traditional Torphological criteria (Krogman, 1962; Hrdlicka,
1952; Anderson, 1962; Phenice, 1967; Bass,
1971). Age determinations were based on criteria from various functional areas (McKern
and Stewart, 1957; Krogman, 1962; Montagu,
1960;Schour and Massler, 1944;Johnston, 1962;
Bass, 1971). Because of the fragmentary condition of much of the material, less reliable
gauges of age such as dental attrition and degenerative change (Hrdlizka, 1952; Brothwell,
1963) were sometimes used.
Because of the limitations of the data, specific life tables were not produced, but the age
at death by category, average age at death, and
the population distribution for the Kish material and selected Southwest Asian sites were
examined. Since the age at death for most individuals was indicated by a range, the average age at death was derived by multiplying
the frequency by the midpoint of each age category and dividing by the total number of individuals of the same known sex. The percentages reflect the number of males, females,
or subadults as the denominator in each category and exclude the sex and age indeterminates. The open-ended category 35+ was
given an artificial end point of 45 years to calculate the average age a t death even though
a few individuals undoubtedly lived beyond this
age. This, as well as differences in aging criteria, partially accounts for the slightly younger
average age at death than that found by other
authors for related populations. It should be
noted that many analyses combine the sex
samples, whereas I have distinguished between them.
Demography
The demographic aspects of prehistoric populations provide a base for dealing with the
dynamics of the groups. Reconstructing demographic features from skeletal material has
certain limitations, but as long as these basic
limitations are recognized, an attempt at reconstruction is justified. Howells (1960) has
pointed out the problems of estimating total
population size and the related features of circumscription of the group and the contemporaneity of the specimens, which is a problem at
many complex Southwest Asian sites excavated without rigorous controls. Vallois (1960)
mentioned the important factors of accurate
sampling, considerations of the same degree of
preservation within the sample, the conditions
of excavation, and estimates of age at death.
Hassan (1979) and Ubelaker (1978) have also
discussed the potential and limitations of demographic analysis of skeletal populations.
The limitations of the demographic data from
Kish and selected Iranian sites should be menRESULTS
tioned at the outset: 1) The total population
Metrics
size is almost impossible to determine, so the
The basic cranial morphology of the Mesodata present represent only the individuals actually recovered, and 2) the subadult segments potamian and Iranian populations during the
of the populations are underrepresented ap- metal ages remained relatively stable. This
parently owing to poor preservation and the general Mediterranean complex included a long,
vagaries of excavation. Differences in burial narrow, and medium height vault with a relpatterns do not seem to pose a problem, and I atively narrow face. Few traits usually assohave limited the analysis to individuals com- ciated with African or Central Asian populaplete enough to provide an 80-9070degree of tions such as alveolar prognathism, nasal form,
flaring zygomatics, or shoveled incisors were
acccuracy for sex and age determination.
Although the techniques for estimating age notable. The major trend through time a t Kish,
a t death from skeletal material have been re- Hasanlu, and Dinkha Tepe has been a defined, we are still often limited to statements creased robusticity, although both robust and
in terms of categories rather than a specific more gracile individuals were present in most
50
T.A. RATHBUN
cultural periods. Indications of robusticity reduction were notable in both the cranial and
postcranial morphology of both sexes, but males
tended to be significantly larger than females,
especially for the mandible and face.
At Kish, Hasanlu, Dinkha Tepe, and Tepe
Hissar, both sexes in the earlier populations
seem to have been more robust than the later
populations a t the same sites. However, the
proportions and shapes of the vaults and faces
remained stable. A slightly divergent pattern
existed at Kish, with the later neo-Babylonian
males being more robust than others. The metric data for individual sites and the areal
groupings are presented in Tables 2 and 3.
When the areal groups are compared with
the pooled Kish data and the cluster analysis
(Fig. 1) is examined, interesting patterns of
affinities appear. The male samples form two
distinct clusters divided by the Syrian desert.
The Kish males are definitely part of the eastern group. The relative distance of the Anatolian males from the more southern and eastern groups was not expected owing to the
archaeological and historical evidence of con-
tact between the areas. The total pattern of
clustering does not indicate marked migration
patterns, and a sudden influx of alien people
is not evident.
The clustering of the females in the areal
comparison (Fig. 2) is more difficult to interpret. They do not form two distinct clusters.
The Syro-Palestinian females are highly divergent from all the other samples. Two low
level clusters are of interest. The close affinity
of the Anatolian and Iranian females is different from the males. The cluster of the Kish
females with this group instead of with the
Mesopotamian grouping is surprising. Except
for the highly distinct Syro-Palestinian females, the areal cluster analysis supports the
hypothesis of basically similar and relatively
homogeneous populations throughout Southwest Asia during the metal ages.
Although comparing regional superpopulations with the pooled Kish sample proved
suggestive of the population dynamics in the
area, generalized distances for specific sites and
the cultural groups at Kish were computed for
finer comparisons (Table 4). It was also hoped
TABLE 2. Data for Penrose C 1 / ~males
;
Anatolian
Troad
N
Max. Lt.
Max. Br.
Ba-Br. Ht.
Up. Face
Bizygo.
Nasal Ht.
Nasal Br.
Max. Lt.
Max. Br.
Ba-Br. Ht.
Up. Face
Bizygo.
Naeal Ht.
Nasal Br.
Mean
S.D. N
19 186.60 7.90
18 141.80 6.40
14 138.60 5.30
10 68.60 4.30
6 131.20 3.20
10 51.10 3.20
10 23.90 0.80
Nipper pooled
52
52
26
26
27
25
26
N
S.D.
N
193.70 5.38
136.90 5.53
136.74 5.96
68.91 4.69
133.32 5.72
53.63 4.04
26.71 2.13
Dinkha Tepe
pooled
7
8
5
6
7
7
7
23
22
19
23
22
22
24
Mean
N
Mean
14
12
4
10
8
10
13
188.29
137.42
137.25
72.50
134.50
52.70
23.69
S.D. N
S.D.
N
184.50 7.80
140.60
5.30
133.40 5.70
67.90 4.20
129.20 4.50
50.60 3.60
25.30
1.90
A1 'Ubaid
Mean
29
30
19
17
18
17
17
Mean
S.D.
192.90
5.00
140.60 3.60
136.80 4.20
70.50 5.20
127.70 4.60
53.50
2.90
25.80
1.60
Kish neoBabylonian
Mean
S.D.
N
6
6
3
3
5
4
5
Mean
S.D.
183.60 7.00
139.70 5.20
131.80 7.30
67.30 4.40
130.80 6.80
50.60 3.20
24.50 2.30
Ur Pooled
N
N
30
30
15
30
30
27
27
Mean
S.D.
N
191.70
137.20
144.30
76.70
132.40
53.00
25.80
7.00
3.90
2.50
1.20
3.20
3.40
2.10
112
Kish E.D.III
Mean
Mean
S.D. N
189.50 11.20
135.70
6.40
138.30 6.90
70.40 5.40
129.70 6.40
50.70 2.70
25.60
1.80
Tepe Hissar
Mean
188.206.20
111 134.10
99 134.70
108 70.00
96 127.10
103 50.70
107 25.40
7.33
5.90
5.56
3.34
7.98
3.30
2.87
'Values from all Kish periods pooled
4
4
2
1
1
1
1
30
Mean
184.50
31 134.90
13 134.77
29 69.10
14 125.00
31 51.26
31 24.00
Mean
S.D.
187.20 7.50
136.00 5.10
134.40 5.20
69.70 4.70
130.10 6.90
51.00 3.80
25.90 2.10
Hasanlu
N
Mean
S.D.
4.90
5.10
4.90
5.40
1.80
3.20
34
28
11
28
18
30
29
188.75
132.29
135.89
69.58
121.21
51.76
23.07
7.25
7.90
6.05
4.50
5.70
3.11
2.80
Unknown-Kish
S.D. N
193.25 10.15 14 190.14 7.81
135.25 7.41 14 136.50 5.56
121.00 9.90
1 133.19' 7.39'
60.00 5.63* 1 78.00 5.63l
133.00 7 . W 2 126.00 7 . W
49.00 3.04' 1 56.00 3.04l
28.00
1.81' 4 24.00 2.00
47
94
36
39
22
43
42
S.D.
S.D.
~~
Max. Lt.
Max. Br.
Ba-Br. Ht.
Up. Face
Bizygo.
Nasal Ht.
Nasal Br.
Indian
Turkmenian
Syro-Palestinian
9.20
5.48
5.59
5.07
7.09
2.77
1.77
51
METAL-AGE SW ASIA
that a time dimension would appear in the
clusters to indicate direction of influence. The
new matrix excluded Cappieri'sMesopotamian
and Iranian regional groupings since data for
individual sites were available.
The cluster analysis for males including individual sites (Fig. 3) is generally similar to
that of the areal one. The neeBabylonian males
from Kish appear very different from all the
other groups. Since there seems to be a trend
T A B U 3. Data for Penrose Czl,. females
Troad
N
Max. Lt.
Max. Br.
Ba-Br. Ht.
Up. Face
Bego.
Nasal Ht.
Nasal Br.
Max.Lt.
Max. Br.
Ba-Br. Ht.
Up. Face
Bego.
Nasal Ht.
Nasal Br.
14
15
6
5
3
4
4
Mean
Anatolian
S.D. N
Mean
S.D. N
11
12
8
11
9
13
14
181.64
133.25
134.50
63.73
124.33
49.85
25.21
8.73
4.53
3.25
4.73
5.15
3.26
2.36
Dinkha Tepe p l e d
Max. Lt.
Max. Br.
Ba-Br. Ht.
Up. Face
Bizygo.
Nasal Ht.
Nasal Br.
S.D. N
Mean
181.40
6.90 32 178.10 6.80
136.80
7.20 32 136.00 6.40
132.80 3.60
5 130.00 5.50
62.80
5.60
9 65.40 3.40
123.30 10.00 15 118.90 3.90
48.30
3.90
9 48.10 2.90
23.30
1.30 11 23.70 1.90
Nipper p l e d
A1 'Ubaid
N
-
181.50 3.30
140.00 1.60
132.50 6.50
64.30 1.50
122.70 4.50
48.00 2.90
23.40 0.90
Kish neoBabylonian
5
5
1
1
1
5
5
Mean
187.20
133.80
136.00
65.00
120.00
46.00
24.00
Kish
N
Mean
S.D. N
Mean
S.D. N
176.69
137.58
126.63
67.50
124.75
50.90
23.77
7.92
6.89
2.62
4.77
7.87
3.57
1.92
178.00
136.00
132.00
67.67
124.00
51.00
23.00
5.88
9.85
5.9P
4.16
5.88z
6.00
1.73
8
8
1
1
2
1
1
Mean
Turkmenian
S.D. N
38
38
22
37
36
31
31
Mean
Indian
S.D. N
183.10 7.30134.40 5.90
136.40 7.10
68.50 3.30
127.00 7.30
49.80 2.50
24.30 2.10
Tepe Hissar
40
41
34
34
21
45
42
Mean
S.D.
179.70 5.70
131.80 9.40
128.60 6.30
63.60 4.30
122.50 5.30
46.60 4.10
24.30 2.10
Haeanlu
S.D. N
Mean
S.D. N
Mean
S.D.
7.90
5.40
5.18l
3.97l
5.941
2.47
1.00
179.20
132.00
129.90
66.30
120.70
48.20
23.80
5.50
4.70
4.60
4.30
4.50
2.80
1.70
181.42
134.18
129.16
67.75
118.92
50.56
24.06
7.40
6.10
4.39
3.12
4.06
2.01
1.55
E.D.III
16
13
8
10
8
10
13
4
3
1
3
1
3
3
Mean
34 179.00 5.10
34 135.30 5.60
20 129.30 6.90
13 68.50 4.90
18 25.40 5.80
13 50.40 4.20
13 24.00 1.70
Ur pooled
S.D. N
Mean
4
4
4
3
2
4
4
Syro-Palestinian
43
43
38
42
32
41
39
18
15
4
14
10
14
13
Unknown-Kish
S.D. N
181.25 5.87
132.00 4.24
131.49* 5.95z
65.6a2 3.732
115.00 7.07
48~34~3.222
29.00 2 . W
30
27
10
16
15
16
18
Mean
S.D.
178.47
133.44
131.30
65.31
119.13
48.44
24.06
8.17
5.32
6.27
3.66
5.85
2.56
1.92
'Average value from all populationsin the series
~alues
from all Kish periods pooled.
2
TABLE 4. Distance values for Penrose's CH
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
1 0.000 1.684 1.919 2.805 3.170 4.750 3.121 5.645 4.201
2 1.906 0.000 0.355 2.792 1.421 3.906 2.620 8.105 2.673
3 3.916 2.342 0.000 3.570 1.771 4.191 3.723 9.235 3.335
4 2.994 3.718 2.299 0.000 0.753 2.071 2.318 2.608 0.597
5 2.107 1.920 3.136 3.533 0.000 1.670 2.274 4.825 0.502
6 1.984 3.160 3.894 2.202 1.913 0.000 2.134 5.492 2.409
7 0.502 1.461 3.821 3.618 2.880 3.416 0.000 5.062 2.221
8 3.362 4.396 8.383 4.204 3.881 4.161 3.770 0.000 4.347
9 2.501 0.790 1.474 2.210 1.126 2.355 2.831 4.010 O.OO0
10 4.329 1.389 1.844 3.881 3.531 4.066 4.133 6.171 1.078
11 4.928 2.896 0.703 5.097 4.588 5.884 4.394 11.834 3.006
12 3.033 2.193 0.888 2.201 4.512 4.107 3.039 7.995 1.981
13 16.331 11.369 15.486 15.679 10.721 9.827 16.641 13.365 11.059
14 2.059 0.362 2.407 2.802 1.496 1.921 2.276 3.672 0.379
Note Males above the diagonal, females below. See Table 1 for population names.
10
11
12
13
14
6.913 2.474 22.596 11.716 3.108
7.152 4.069 14.768 10.923 2.397
8.031 3.425 13.896 11.210 2.902
3.670 2.597 18.957 9.079 1.583
4.814 2.710 14.207 8.399 1.479
6.585 3.512 13.541 9.635 4.031
3.810 4.017 18.744 6.162 2.270
6.142 3.245 33.031 7.844 5.010
2.570 3.453 16.598 7.164 0.861
0.000 6.077 27.011 5.626 1.566
2.765 0.000 23.485 6.750 3.181
2.235 1.561 0.000 32.960 20.976
10.772 17.590 18.607 0.000 6.067
1.250 3.686 2.330 9.496 O.Oo0
52
T.A. RATHBUN
Fig. 1. Cluster analysis of male regional groups.
for the other groups to cluster along areal lines,
it is unfortunate that no data for sites around
the Persian Gulf or the Arabian Peninsula were
available. The Caucasus groups should also be
investigated.
The Eastern Mediterranean males seem to
form a tight cluster in biological, geographical,
and temporal dimensions. Another tight cluster is formed by the Turkmenian, Indian, and
Tepe Hissar populations. Although the Nippur
and A1 ‘Ubaid males show biological affinities
with the eastern groups, geographical and
temporal factors are more difficult to invoke.
The analysis of the cluster patterns of females including individual sites (Fig. 4) differs
markedly from the males. Although the SyroPalestinian females were the most distinct when
the regional groups were compared, the Early
Dynasty I11 females from Kish emerge as the
most distinct group in the inclusive matrix.
None of the other Mesopotamian female samples cluster closely with Kish, and the females
from the later periods a t Kish show affinities
with widely dispersed populations.
The clustering pattern of the females does
not seem to be so geographically harmonious
as that of the males. Instead, we see a close
affinity among the Dinkha Tepe, Syro-Palestinian, and Kish neo-Babylonian females. The
cluster formed by other Mesopotamian Sam-
METAL-AGE SW ASIA
53
Fig. 2. Cluster analysis of female regional groups.
ples and widely dispersed groups is also perplexing. Although there is a tendency for the
female groups to cluster at slightly lower levels
than the males, the high divergence of the Early
Dynasty I11 females and the neo-Babylonian
males from Kish remains problematic. The
small sample sizes and some inferred variation
data preclude definitive evaluation for the individual components at Kish.
In summary, the analyses of both regional
groups and individual populations suggest a
basically similar and stable morphology for
Southwest Asian populations during the metal
ages. When relative variation is considered,
male-female differences appear. The males tend
to reflect localized patterns, whereas the female morphological patterns seem similar over
widely dispersed areas. The metric results are
generally supported by analysis of nonmetric
traits for some of the sites (Rathbun, 1979).
Demography
Discussions of the problems and advantages
of reconstructing demographic properties of past
populations from the skeletal remains have recently become more numerous. Especially applicable to our understanding of demographic
problems in Southwest Asian prehistory are
those works that discuss the cultural-biological interface in population dynamics (Angel,
54
T.A. RATHBUN
33 03
I
11 72
Fig. 3. Cluster analysis of males at individual sites and
regions.
1954,1969,1971, 1972;Cook, 1972;Hassan,
1973,1979Peterson, 1975;Weiss, 1973;Swedlund, 1975;Ward and Weiss, 1976).McNeill
(1976,1979)has also pointed out possible interactions of disease and migration. Most of
these studies indicate the continuing problem
of sufficient sample sizes and hard data in generating meaningful discussions. Unfortunately, published demographic data from Mesopotamian and Iranian sites are scant. This
analysis of the demographic situation at Kish
and surrounding areas should be viewed as
preliminary.
Tables 5 and 6 present the summary materials on distribution of the populations and
comparative materials for average age at death.
At most of the Mesopotamian and Iranian sites
the males typically died around 30, and the
females died at approximately 28 (Swindler,
1956;Krogman, 1940;Vallois, 1960). These
means are similar to those from Dynastic and
pre-Dynastic populations in Egypt and for
Chalcolithic and Copper Age populations of
Anatolia (Masali and Chiarelli, 1973;Senyurek, 1957).A later age at death is reported for
Bronze and Early Iron Age Greek populations
METAL-AGE SW ASIA
55
Fig. 4. Cluster analysis of females at individual sites and
regions.
and the Lerna site (Angel, 1954,1971).At the
Eneolithic site, Vovnigi, in Hungary, males
typically died a t 47 and females a t 35. Nemeskeri (1973)suggested that the Hungarian
pattern is very similar to that revealed by the
data from Afalou and a late Paleolithic Nubian
series. It should be noted that the methods of
age determination used by Acsadi and Nemeskeri (1970)use different criteria from those
used in this study, and in some instances bones,
especially for more advanced years. The artificial end point of 45 that was established for
the older age category may magnify the dif-
ference when considering average age at death.
The relative frequency in the three categories
of adulthood for the sexes would not be affected. Probability of dying and life expectancy
have been shown to be useful in paleopathology and paleodemographic study even when
segments of the population have been undernumerated (Buikstra and Cook, 1980:453-454).
The Southwest Asian data support the argument by Weiss (1973)for a short life expectancy when the total population is considered from birth. His adjusted ranges from 20
to 29 years for protoagriculturalists, living pri-
56
T.A. RATHBUN
TABLE 5. Avemge age at death
Males
Females
Subadults
N
18-24
25-35
35+
N
18-24
25-35
35+
N
Kish pooled
E.D. I11
Neo-Babylonian
Unknown period
104
21
10
70
28%
24%
60%
24%
43%
48%
20%
46%
29%
29%
20%
30%
74
9
7
54
42%
33%
57%
43%
35%
23%
22%
29%
20%
101
6
Hasanlu pooled
Period IV
Dinkha Tepe
77
57
17
32%
33%
29%
32% 42
35%
33% 26
33%
53% 15
18%
After reaching age
40%
46%
20%
18
31%
35%
Culture
Average age
at death
44%
14%
37%
47%
29%
19%
33%
Males
Females
Subadults
30.4
30.7
26.6
30.8
30.6
30.3
32.6
30.2
30.0
37.0
25.0
30.0
28.5
29.2
27.7
28.2
29.2
27.8
31.5
28.9
27.0
37.0
25.0
30.0
7.6
8.3
Kish pooled
E.D. III
Neo-Babylonian
Unknown period
Hasanlu pooled
Period IV
Dinkha Tepe, Iran
Nippur, Iraq
Tepe Hissar, Iran
Tepe Sialk, Iran
Dynastic Egypt
Pre-Dynastic Egypt
B
2-
3-6
7-12
13-18
25% 22% 30%
24%
33%
0% 33% 33%
Too Few For Analysis-----------------82 24% 22% 29%
24%
*3-12
35 37%
40%
23%
29 45%
31%
24%
Too Few For Analysis------------------
From birthSexes pooled
21.6
26.6
24.5
20.9
24.7
23.2
-
7.5
7.1
6.7
~
TABLE 6. Total population age distribution by percent
Females
Males
18-24
Kish pooled
E.D. I1
E.D. 111
Neo-Babylonian
Unknown
Hasanlu pooled
Hasanlu IV
25-35
5.29 8.21
3.85
3.85
7.58 15.15
17.65 5.88
4.31
8.12
&+
5.47
-
9.09
5.88
5.33
16.23 17.53 16.23
16.96 16.96 16.96
~
Adult 18-24
25-35 35+
5.66
13.87
15.38 24.24
4.55
20.59 11.76
9.90
5.84
11.04
10.71
mitives, classic, and medieval populations accommodate the Kish and Hasanlu populations
nicely. These means are consistently lower than
those reported by Acsadi and Nemeskeri (1970).
When age at death after reaching 18 is considered, the Southwest Asian groups consistently died at a younger age and fall within the
lower range of variation. It should be noted
that none of the Southwest Asian groups, except Dinkha Tepe and Tepe Sialk, are within
the range of life expectancy of urban agriculturalists (mean 40.3,range 31.9-49.6)characterized by Weiss. Most of them are in the
lower ranges for modern hunting-gathering
groups and protoagriculturalists. Problems of
comparable aging criteria may account for some
of the discrepancy.
4.74
3.85
6.06
2.94
5.08
8.44
8.04
3.10
7.69
3.03
5.88
2.79
7.79
4.46
Adult
8.58
11.54
10.61
8.82
7.87
Indet.
Adult
26.64
26.92
10.61
14.71
29.95
-
Subadults
B-2
4.56
-
3.63
2.94
5.08
3-6
7-12
4.01
11.54
5.47
11.54
3.03
-
2.94
4.57
3-12
8.44 9.09
11.61 8.04
-
13-18
4.38
3.85
3.03
-
-
6.09
5.08
13-17
5.19
6.25
It is unlikely that the skeletal samples included here meet all of the assumptions of model
life tables: stable population, representativeness of the sample, and freedom from systematic aging errors (Weiss, 1973:14).After estimating mortality rates from the skeletal
samplesfrom Kish and related groups, the model
table MT = 15.0-45.0 seemed best to accommodate the groups and to produce the hypothetical demographicsituation: crude birth rate,
0.655;completed family size, 4.77;mean family
size, 4.44;generation length, 25.87;adults past
15 reaching 50,8.8;
population under 15,55.3%;
fertile adults, 42.1%; adults past the age of
reproduction, 2.6%;dependency ratio, 1.37;average age of population, 16.4;average age of
adults, 28.2 (Weiss, 1973:118).
METAL-AGE SW ASIA
57
These characteristics support the argument
sive rate. This situation is similar to that among
of H. Weiss (1975) for a per annum growth rate the Egyptian early agriculturalists (Masali and
of less than 0.16% at Kish as estimated by
Chiarelli, 1973; Nemeskeri, 1973). Reference
settlement size and pattern for the Early Dy- should also be made to estimates of population
growth rates in the area by Carneiro and Hilse
nasty period. Carneiro and Hilse (1966:177-180)
estimated a Neolithic growth rate in the area
(1966) and Hassan (1973).
The Southwest Asian groups exhibit a comof 0.08-0.12%, and Hassan (1973540) suggests
a fluctuating growth of 0.4-1.3% with periods mon pattern of more males living longer than
females. The higher female death frequencies
of stagnation and depopulation. It should be
in the younger ranges can possibly be attribremembered that theoretical models are useful
uted to pregnancy-related problems. The higher
tools, but should not be considered ends in
frequency of cribra orbitalia with infants and
themselves. They do, however, provide a base
young females may also suggest a nutritional
for general comparisons, and when applied to
similar populations may indicate avenues for component through anemic conditions during
lactation and breast feeding. In Mesopotamia
empirical testing.
From the examination of the model life table both subadults and adult females exhibited a
and the actual population distribution, we see higher infection occurrence than among parallel Iranian groups, but stress, as indicated
that the populations in Southwest Asia were
quite young during the metal ages. In most by linear enamel hypoplasia, was more frequent in Iran for both males and subadults
premodern populations the proportion of the
(Rathbun, 1980).
total population in the subadult range is usuIn summary, the metal-age populations in
ally between 50%and 60%, but with the Kish
sample only 18.42%of the skeletons in the col- Southwest Asia were young and apparently
relatively stable. Mortality was high for all
lection were subadults. Sampling techniques
remain a problem for paleodemographic stud- ages, and females had a shorter life expectancy
than males. The metal age agricultural sociies. Vallois’ (1960:203-204) statement remains
applicable: . . . archaeologists must neces- eties do not seem to reflect a dramatic improvement in health as indicated by average age a t
sarily try to preserve systematically all the
human remains they discover, without discrim- death. From a cultural evolutionary perspective a strong case can be made in support of
inating against young or very fragmentary
the argument that “the agricultural revolution
bones.”
cannot be viewed as being a great demographic
A probably high subadult mortality rate
during the metal ages is supported by ethno- change with regard to the individual. Although the denser, more predictable food supgraphic data on agricultural Iranian villages.
At Hasanlu 35.86% of the 145 children born to ply allowed a great many more individuals to
35 married men from the present village were live, it did not dramatically change their life
dead (Rathbun and Bass, 1977). The average expectancies. Longevity did not jump signifinumber of births for each marriage was 4.14. cantly until industrialization” (Weiss, 1973:30).
Similar circumstances were evident with Kur- Agriculture appears not to have changed the
dish villagers at Ziwiye, Iran, where 39.35% basic biological patterns very much in Southof the 61 children born to 15 married men had west Asia. Mortality is still the dominant popdied. These high infant mortality rates (393.4/ ulation growth inhibitor, but urban agricul1,000 births at Ziwiye and 358.6/1,000 at Has- turalists may have had fertility and mortality
anlu) are considerably higher than the 216.51 approximately equal in influence.
1,000 live births reported for the Iranian central plateau (Mashayekhi et al., 1953). In a
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
Khuzistan, Iran, village more than half the
Morphological
and demographic changes of
deaths in a 10-year period were of children less
Southwest Asia populations during the metal
than 6 years old (Salmanzadeh, 1969).The high
death rate among infants and children in an- ages appear to have been minimal. The major
cient Southwest Asia is illustrated in the per- discernible trends from populations a t urban
centage districutions of skeletal populations, centers on the Iranian plateau and in the Meand is comparable to those reported for other sopotamian valley include a reduction of roarchaeological populations (Howells, 1960; busticity of the entire skeleton and reduction
of the crown area of the posterior maxillary
Vallois, 1960).
The high rates of infant mortality and young dentition (Rathbun, 1975). These trends may
adult death, especially among females, indi- be responses to both cultural and genetic faccate that although the total populations were tors, but environmental change was not of a
young, they were not expanding at a n explo- marked nature. Genetic drift does not seem to
“
58
T.A. RATHBUN
be a significant feature (Finkel, 1974).Selec- their daughters who may then be married to
tive pressures do not seem marked for any par- sedentarists and contribute to that gene p l .
ticular zone in the ecological mosaic except for Impoverished herdsmen who cannot maintain
the trend for mountain populations to be more a large enough number of animals and male
robust. Widespread and sudden alien migra- kin to function as a viable unit also settle.
tion does not appear to be detectable. Instead, Daughters are oRen married to sedentary men,
the morphological pattern that emerges is of a but sons may remain pastoral as hired shepbasic stability and similarity of most popula- herds. Most of the gene flow seems to be from
tions in the area. These findings based on mul- the pastoral groups to the sedentary ones via
tivariate techniques agree with univariate the females. Only occasionally will sedentarstudies. The question then becomes one of ac- ists take up the nomadic pastoral existence.
This combination of social, economic, and decounting for the basic stability and relative
relationships of the groups in their biological mographic factors would create conditions for
maintaining the morphological stability in
and cultural milieu.
The cluster patterns and levels of affinity of Southwest Asia, and partially account for the
the sexes suggest differential mobility, with differences in cluster levels between the sexes.
the males tending to be locally stable and the Such an account of the population dynamics
females more mobile. Possible cultural expla- could explain the existence of both gracile and
nations of the patterns include the possibility robust components of the populations a t Tepe
of patrilineality and patrilocality and the dif- Hissar, Hasanlu, Kish, and other early Meferential inclusion of females from adjacent sopotamian sites.
The population dynamics of the Iranian plapopulations as the result of warfare, trade, political alliance, or demographic adjustment. The teau and Mesopotamian valley have been commutual influence of the major geographical and plex and variegated. The general situation, as
cultural areas within Southwest Asia during well as the specific situation a t Kish, seems
the metal ages and urbanization process is being compatable with Gibson’s (1972:2)suggestion
increasingly emphasized (Adams, 1974;Cowgill, that the historical dynamic has been “a grad1975;Wright, 1971;Wright, and Johnson, 1975; ual, uneven, infiltration of the new element
Kohl, 1978). These complex and interdepen- into the region. . . not as an invasion, but as
dent processes are probably reflected in the a gradual consolidation, domination and abmating patterns and resultant morphological sorption of older settled populations by a group
mosaic in the area.
that may once have been predominately noThe urbanized areas in the mountain and madic.”
river valleys might be viewed as recipient reAlthough there is an increasing awareness
gions, whereas the surrounding mountain and of the potential contributions of osteological
pastoral groups served as donors (Binford,1968). studies in interdisciplinary research in SouthThe cluster analysis of morphological dis- west Asia, problems of sample sizes, presertances suggests that the females were more vation, and systematic skeletal excavation remobile than the males. The higher female mor- main. The developing specialties of
tality rates and earlier age a t death in the paleopathology, paleodemography, and nonurban centers would create marriage difficul- metric multivariate analysis may provide adties for widowers with dependent children and ditional information on the complex culturalfor young males. Recruitment of females from biological interface in the area. Mellaart’s
surrounding groups already in political or eco- (1974:274)comment seems appropriate: “It is
nomic contact seems a viable solution. Eth- only in the last few decades that scholars have
nographic examples such as Barth‘s (1961)de- learned to pay proper attention to plant and
piction of the Basseri of Southern Iran indicate animal remains, but how many have realized
that pastoral groups often have a high fertility the potential of anthropological studies, dewith a surplus of marriageable females in the mography and the pathology of the human
tent unit. With the limited carrying capacity skeletal remains?”
and critical ratios of animals and male herdsACKNOWLEDGMENTS
men for continued economic success, the males
Since various phases of this research were
of the group tend to remain pastoralists except
in two segments of the population. Analysis of carried out over several years, a number of
sedentarization indicates that successful her- individuals have contributed to its completion.
ders invest their capital in arable land near Funds for travel, analysis, and preparation were
villages and towns and often settle there with provided by Henry Field of Field Research
METAL-AGE SW ASIA
Projects; the University of Kansas Greater
University Fund; and the University of South
Carolina Committee for Productive Scholarship. A number of students contributed to various phases of the project, and I thank them
collectively. Glen Cole of the Field Museum of
Natural History was supportive, and Robert
H. Dyson of the University of Pennsylvania
made materials available. Dorothy Tart,Cheryl
Fowler, and Patricia Rhudy typed several versions of the manuscript. Final thanks go to
Babette Rathbun for editorial suggestions, analytical comments, and sympathetic understanding.
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