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  • Print publication year: 2002
  • Online publication date: March 2010



All sites of the project in Central America were inhabited, and disappeared from our statistical view, before Columbus arrived in the Americas. It is known, however, that several of these siteswere part of a larger hierarchical society that was in considerable distress. The chapters in this section consider environmental factors that may have been responsible for the high incidence of skeletal lesions. As a group they scored 64.0on the health index, compared with the average of 72.6 across all sites (see Table IV.1). Moreover, no single site in the region exceeded the average, and the group with the best health, Tlatilco, fell more than 4 points below the mean. As a group, the Central Americans scored poorly on the childhood indicators, especially hypoplasias, and were laden with infections.No group even approached the average (75.1) in the latter category, and most fell very near the bottom. The only category in which the Central Americans did well was trauma, where they scored more than 6 points above average, and only one group (Cuicuilco) fell below average.

As a group, these Central Americans were less diverse in their health than the historic populations.With the exception of hypoplasias, the standard deviations for components of the health index were lower (often much lower) than the standard deviations for all sites.