Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Anthropology and Ethnic Studies

First Committee Member

Bernardo Arriaza

Number of Pages



This research examined the cultural practice of cranial deformation (annular and anteroposterior), and its effects on 27 craniometric measurements and biodistances among 350 prehistoric crania from the Azapa valley of northern Chile. Included among these 27 measurements were nine facial measurements previously considered to be unaffected by deformation. One-way ANOVA, Bonferroni multiple comparisons, and discriminant function analyses indicated that out of the 27 measurements were seven centrally located facial and basilar measurements unaffected by deformation: orbital breadth, palate (maxillo-alveolar) breadth, nasal breadth, basion-prosthion length, cranial base length, foramen magnum length, and foramen magnum breath. Included among these seven measurements were only four of the nine measurements previously considered unaffected by deformation; Penrose (mD2) and Mahalanobis (D2) generalized distances were then calculated for male, female, and pooled sex data using the seven new and seven commonly used older measurements to assess whether the inclusion of affected measurements skewed biodistance interpretations. Review of the resulting generalized distances and cluster dendrograms indicated conflicting interpretations of Azapa valley population history. Distances calculated using new measurements suggested general continuity, while distances calculated using old measurements indicated early isolation and late interaction. This discrepancy may be ascribed to the older measurements' ability to separate annular crania from normal and anteroposterior crania. Thus it is recommended that conclusions drawn from studies utilizing the measurements identified as significantly affected by deformation require re-evaluation. Further, the seven measurements identified as unaffected by deformation are suggested as more appropriate for studying populations with deformed crania, warranting further testing.


Andean; Chile; Consequences; Cranial; Craniofacial; Deformation; Intentional; Morphology; Populations; Prehistoric

Controlled Subject

Physical anthropology

File Format


File Size

8806.4 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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