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(Reference retrieved automatically from SciELO through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

NONSPECIFIC INFECTIOUS DISEASES IN PREHISTORIC SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA, NORTHERN CHILE

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Author(s):
Pedro José Tótora da-Gloria ; Walter Alves Neves ; Maria Antonietta Costa Junqueira ; Rafael Bartolomucci
Total Authors: 4
Document type: Journal article
Source: Chungará (Arica); v. 43, n. 1, p. 135-146, Jun. 2011.
Abstract

The region of San Pedro de Atacama, Northern Chile, has undergone several cultural and social changes after humans settled in Atacama Desert around 500 BC. The Atacameño people experienced the highest degree of social and cultural changes between 400 and 900 AD when they were assimilated into the Tiwanaku trade and political web that influenced most of the Central-Southern Andes. Under the influence of Tiwanaku, San Pedro de Atacama experienced its greatest economic development. Prior analyses of local human skeletal remains have shown a significant increase in the stature of the local population during the same period. In this paper, we investigate the impact of the Tiwanaku influence on the local epidemiological profile using the incidence of periostitis and osteomyelitis as indicators of biological stress. Surprisingly, the best epidemiological condition occurred during the final phase of influence of Tiwanaku (910-960 AD), and not during the apex influence (480-920 AD), as expected by the archaeological context. We suggest that population growth and aggregation may have counteracted the benefits of improved nutrition during the peak Tiwanaku influence. A severe drought occurred between 1,100 and 1,400 AD in Northern Chile. This could also explain the marked increase of bone infections in the post-Tiwanaku period (920-1,240 AD). (AU)