Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Debra L. Martin

Second Committee Member

Jennifer L. Thompson

Third Committee Member

Liam Frink

Fourth Committee Member

Jennifer Keene

Number of Pages



Bronze Age sites on the Arabian Peninsula are relatively rare. The undisturbed nature of Tell Abraq, located in the United Arab Emirates, is significant since it represents one of the longest known occupied settlement sites dating from the 3rd millennium BC to the 1st century AD. This site has revealed an undisturbed communal tomb that was used for approximately 200 years (2200-2000 BC), housing commingled and disarticulated human remains of at least 286 adults and 127 subadults. The strategic coastal position of Tell Abraq, at the intersection of several major cultural centers, allowed its people to actively participate in world trade and politics. The current project attempted to better understand human behavior and adaptation in harsh environment during a sparsely known period through the systematic study of musculo-skeletal markers (MSMs) on proximal femora.

Analyses using new forensic techniques combined with macroscopic and microscopic examination of adult proximal femora (n=102) presented a distribution across age categories and a skewed ratio of males to females. The population was relatively healthy with high incidences of MSMs including pilasterism (95%), articular border convexity (79.12%) and anterior cervical imprint (67.05%). None of the MSMs, apart from the posterior cervical imprint, showed side biases. There were various degrees of biases between sexes, with males overall showing more frequencies of MSMs. Interpreting the results within its archaeological and cultural context, the bones of the Bronze Age Tell Abraq revealed a very hard working population existing in a complex economic and social community, with at least a partial sexual division of labor.


Arabian Peninsula; Bioarchaeology; Bronze Age; Femur; Habitual activities; Musculoskeletal stress markers; Musculoskeletal system – Wounds and injuries; Proximal femur; United Arab Emirates – Tell Abraq


Anthropology | Archaeological Anthropology | Gender and Sexuality

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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