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



Native Americans of North America are the largest group in this project, involving 52 percent of the individuals and 43 percent of the 65 sites under study. These sites were also diverse, chronologically ranging in age from about 3000 bc to the late nineteenth century, and they encompass a wide variety of habitats from temperate coastal areas to the high Plains. The region from the Great Lakes to the southern Atlantic coast was home to 10 of the 28 sites in this group, and most of the rest were concentrated in the Plains east of the Rockies. The single largest group in the entire study (about one-quarter of the entire database), however, was located in Southern California.

Table VI.1 shows that the North American natives were relatively healthy (as measured by skeletal lesions), particularly those who lived in the East. In that region, the health index was 78.1, which exceeds the average for all sites by 5.5 points. In sharp contrast to sites in Central and South America, the natives of eastern North America were remarkably tall, a phenomenon that may have been related to greater access to dietary protein fromgame. It is notable that scores on childhood indicators of health were high at most sites in the East. The region fell (slightly) below average only on dental health.