Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Richard L. Jantz

Committee Members

P. S. Willey, William M. Bass, John R. Finger


This investigation is to find differences in labor costs imprinted on skeletons of non-agricultural and agricultural subsistence groups in America. Eight entheses developments of muscles on metacarpals were measured comparing samples taken from Archaic Tennessee and Kentucky hands with those from Tennessee and South Dakota agricultural populations.

The two subsistence groups show agricultural hands have larger entheses for seven of the eight insertions. Cross-sectional dimensions of the sampled metacarpals show shape changes between the two groups. These are interpreted as reflecting changes in work loads on the hand, with heavier, more frequent, and larger loads being manipulated by the later, agricultural people. Increased lengths of metacarpals four and five in the agricultural peoples is interpreted as advantageous to the power grip that requires musculature on the ulnar side of the hand.

Efforts were made to interpret types of activities performed by specific muscle combinations, both within groups and by individuals.

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