Palaeopathology of Aboriginal Australians: Health and Disease across a Hunter-Gatherer Continent

Overview

While their health has suffered enormously because of the arrival of the Europeans, it is widely assumed that Aboriginal people enjoyed good health before 1788. Using data collected from 4500 individuals from all parts of the continent, this book is a study of the health of Australia's inhabitants over 50,000 years. It represents the first continental survey of its kind as well as being the first to quantify and describe many important aspects of Australian hunter-gatherer health. The book offers a theoretical ...
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Overview

While their health has suffered enormously because of the arrival of the Europeans, it is widely assumed that Aboriginal people enjoyed good health before 1788. Using data collected from 4500 individuals from all parts of the continent, this book is a study of the health of Australia's inhabitants over 50,000 years. It represents the first continental survey of its kind as well as being the first to quantify and describe many important aspects of Australian hunter-gatherer health. The book offers a theoretical approach to Upper Pleistocene regional epidemiology and also presents empirical data of the health of late Pleistocene and Holocene populations. Major categories of disease described are: stress, osteoarthritis, fractures, certain congenital malformations, neoplasms, non-specific and treponemal infection as well as some surgical techniques used by Aboriginal people. Much of the book's discussion takes a regional approach, comparing and contrasting disease across the Australian continent, and with a population from Papua New Guinea. Similarly, pathological trends are analysed and examined in view of the social, behavioural and demographic factors prevailing in various parts of the continent. This broad-ranging book offers fresh insight into the study of Australian prehistory and Aboriginal culture and extends our knowledge of the health of the hunter-gatherer. Written in a style that makes it accessible to specialists and general readers alike, it tells us a great deal about the origins and ecology of human disease.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Well written; extensive bibliography; excellent and highly instructive photographs and data tables. A worthwhile acquisition." N. Krusko, Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521110495
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/7/2009
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 6.69 (w) x 9.61 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
List of tables
Acknowledgements
1 Introduction 1
2 Australian palaeopathology, survey methods, samples and ethnohistoric sources 5
3 Upper Pleistocene pathology of Sunda and Sahul: some possibilities 21
4 Pathology in late Pleistocene and early Holocene Australian hominids 41
5 Stress 89
6 Infectious disease 125
7 Osteoarthritis 161
8 Trauma 188
9 Neoplastic disease 217
10 Congenital malformations 235
11 Motupore: the palaeopathology of a prehistoric New Guinea island community 256
12 The old and the new: Australia's changing patterns of health 272
References 295
Index 321
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