2016 Volume 124 Issue 1 Pages 29-44
In the eastern Pampa–Patagonia transition, hunter-gatherer groups experienced a series of changes in social organization (e.g. subsistence, mobility, and demography) during the Late Holocene (c. 3000–250 years BP), mainly in the last c. 1000 years. In this context, some biological aspects, including health, might have also been modified. The aim of this paper is to present a review and synthesis of a recent pathological analysis of hunter-gatherer skeletons from the lower basin of the Colorado River (Argentina) during the Late Holocene. The sample includes 94 individuals from six archaeological sites. Bone and dental pathologies (e.g. osteoarthrosis, systemic stress, bone infections, trauma, caries, periodontal disease, antemortem tooth loss, and dental calculus) were considered. The results show low frequencies in most of the bone and oral pathologies. Trauma, infectious, and systemic stress processes did not show large variation among samples from the Late Holocene. However, increasing prevalence of dento-alveolar lesion and osteoarthrosis were observed in samples from the final moments of this period (c. 1000–250 years BP). These results are discussed taking into account the archaeological model proposed for the eastern Pampa–Patagonia transition, which suggests social transformations and reorganizations during the last 1000 years.