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date: 19 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Studies of regional and chronological variation in skeletal markers of physical activity in past hunter-gatherer populations typically focus on adults, however, patterns of bone strength develop predominantly during childhood and adolescence. Ethnographic studies suggest that differences in environment and subsistence strategy would have brought about variation in how children grew up to be productive foragers capable of procuring food for themselves and others. Different foraging activities require varying degrees of physical strength and skills development. These factors would have influenced the age at which individuals began to participate in different foraging activities and lead to regional and chronological differences in the ontogeny of limb robusticity. This process is culturally-mediated in terms of the degree to which children are ‘trained’ in subsistence activities. Consequently, this study compares ontogenetic patterns in the development of bone strength with the aim of reconstructing physical activity patterns among the children of two Holocene hunter-gatherer populations.

Keywords: hunter-gatherer, forager, Later Stone Age, Early Bronze Age, Africa, Neolithic, childhood, adolescence, biometrics

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