Adult stature and health among early foragers of the Western Gulf Coastal Plain

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4 Scopus citations


Female and male skeletal remains from early cemetery sites on the Western Gulf Coastal Plain of North America were analyzed to assess secular changes in stature across time. Sample populations consisted of hunter-gatherers and date from the Middle Archaic (3000-1500 B.C.), the Late Archaic (1500 B.C.-A.D. 600), and the Late Prehistoric (A.D. 600-1500) time periods. Results display a slight decline in average statures between the Middle and Late Archaic, but a more than 2.5 cm increase in stature from the Late Archaic to the Late Prehistoric. All populations achieved at least 94.9 percent of modern adult statures. Compared with historically documented nineteenthand twentieth-century populations, prehistoric Texas foragers enjoyed a level of nutrition greater than that of nineteenth-century working class Europeans, Caribbean slaves, and twentieth-century hunter-gatherers. Average estimated statures were comparable with upper class nineteenth-century Europeans. Results of the study are consistent with the archeological consensus that the prehistoric hunter-gatherers of the Texas Gulf Coastal Plain practiced a conservative but highly successful hunting and gathering subsistence strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-65
Number of pages11
JournalPlains Anthropologist
Issue number213
StatePublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult stature
  • Nutrition
  • Texas prehistory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology


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