Quantifying Impairment and Disability in Bioarchaeological Assemblages

Chapter
Part of the Bioarchaeology and Social Theory book series (BST)

Abstract

Global epidemiology metrics provide some useful tools for characterizing health in past populations. Among these are the disability weights developed by the Global Burden of Disease studies. Disability weights are assigned to health states —conditions and sequelae rather than to specific diseases or skeletal lesion types—and encompass a wide range of nonfatal conditions, many of which are recorded in skeletal assemblages. Examples presented here illustrate the application of this approach in quantifying the disability burden represented by skeletal pathology in two Ancestral Puebloan skeletal assemblages. The issues attendant to the evolution of disability weights and the challenges in assigning universal weights to different health states globally are discussed.

Keywords

Disability Impairment Global burden of disease Disability weights Paleopathology Bioarchaeology Paleoepidemiology Ancestral pueblo 

Notes

Acknowledgements

My thanks to the editors for the invitation to participate in the AAPA symposium and to contribute to this volume, and to the editors and the reviewers for their insights and diligence. My study of the San Cristobal people was supported by the American Museum of Natural History Lounsbery Fellowship and continued access facilitated by Ian Tattersall and Nell Murphy.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Office of Archaeological StudiesThe Museum of New MexicoSanta FeUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyThe University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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