2013 Volume 121 Issue 1 Pages 31-48
The Edo-period (AD 1603–1867) human skeletal remains were excavated from the Unseiji site in Akashi, Japan. The inscription of the gravestone suggested that the individual was a grandmother of a chief retainer of the Akashi clan. Because the accumulation of anthropological data for high-status persons in the Edo period is important for future studies, this study reports the basic description of this individual from the perspectives of morphology, paleopathology, and stable isotope analysis. The results obtained here are as follows. (1) The osteological diagnosis of age at death and sex revealed that this individual is a female whose age at death is 50 years and more. This is consistent with the record of the gravestone inscription. (2) This individual is characterized by the large maximum cranial length, the small basion-bregma height, and the large facial width and height, which are all different from the craniofacial features of the Tokugawa-shogunate family, the Edo-period commoners, and the modern Japanese. (3) The carbon and nitrogen stable isotopic analysis of this individual further revealed that the main source of proteins of this individual was fresh water fish or a combination of terrestrial and sea food.