Parc Cwm Long Cairn - Analysis - Lifestyle Indicators

Lifestyle Indicators

Examination of the bones from which stature could be estimated, indicate that the male mortuary population were "big men" – the 1869 report notes males of "gigantic proportions" – whereas the females were "short and gracile". Pollard notes that males analysed from Parc Cwm long cairn were "particularly robust" when compared to females.

Prior to the publication of Whittle and Wysocki's 1998 report, bones and teeth of the mortuary population of Parc Cwm long cairn were re-examined for indications of lifestyle and diet.

Musculoskeletal analysis showed significant gender lifestyle variation. Greater leg muscle development was found in males of the Parc Cwm cromlech, possibly the result of hunting or herding, confirming the sexual dimorphism found in previous analyses of the remains. In contrast, no such variation was noticeable in the remains found during excavations from other nearby sites, for example the Tinkinswood burial chamber, in the Vale of Glamorgan. The variation in musculoskeletal stress markers may indicate a mobile lifestyle for at least some of the males analysed.

Evidence obtained from stable isotope analysis shows plant foods, including cereals, formed only a small proportion of their dietary protein. The majority derived from animals – i.e., meat, and milk or blood – and contained none from marine sources.

Remains of human teeth were analysed for evidence of arrested development and decay. Arrested development implies periods of nutritional shortage, which could indicate failed harvests. Decay implies either periods of food shortage, or a diet consisting of high proportions of carbohydrate or softer cooked meat, or both. Dental analyses showed no sign of periods of decay or arrested development, even where there was "considerable wear", indicating a lifestyle that was not dependent on farming cereals. The 1887 bone report notes the "good condition of the teeth". Whittle and Wysocki noted the "slight" presence of tartar, and that only one tooth had been lost before death, a mandibular incisor.

Whittle and Wysocki conclude, from the skeletal and dental analyses, that the lifestyles of the people who were to be interred in the cromlech either continued to be one of hunting and gathering or, more likely, a pastoral life of herding, rather than one of agrarian-based farming.

Read more about this topic:  Parc Cwm Long Cairn, Analysis

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