Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Anthropology



Advisor 1

Debra Martin, Chair

Advisor 2

Jennifer Thompson

Advisor 3

Alan Simmons

Graduate Faculty Representative

John Curry

Number of Pages



Tell Abraq is significant because it is the largest prehistoric site on the southern coast of the Arabian Gulf. It was strategically important as an ancient port, regionally surrounded by large political centers. Commingled remains were located in a small tomb (6 m) used for a 200 year period (2200-2000 BC). The site was continually occupied from the 3rd millennium BC up to the 1st century AD. In the tomb were minimally 286 adults and 127 subadults. What is extraordinary is the number of pre-term (3rd trimester) infants (n=28, 22%), neonates (n=12, 9%), and infants under 2 years (n=46, 36%). The collection also yielded many children aged 2 to 5 years (n=32, 25%). This abundance of very young children is more startling in comparison to the very low number of subadults aged 6-18 (n=9, 7%). Differential preservation and burial practices of older children do not appear to be reasons for this low number. We have reported elsewhere that the adult portion of the population appears relatively robust and well-represented across age and sex categories. Analysis using radiography, thin-sections, metric data, and paleopathology demonstrates that while there was some suffering from infection and failure to thrive among the subadults (as suggested by poor cortical maintenance at the expense of growth in length), frequencies are not high enough to explain what placed premature and newly born infants and toddlers at risk. Cultural norms such as consanguinity, marriage and pregnancy at a young age, and benign neglect may be underlying factors contributing to poor infant outcomes.


Archaeological sites; Bioarchaeology; Bronze age; Children – Health and hygiene; Children – Mortality; Infants – Health and hygiene; Infants – Mortality; Funeral homes; Medical archaeology; Mortuary; Ossuaries; Ossuary; Paleopathology; Subadult; Tomb; Tombs; United Arab Emirates – Tell Abraq


Archaeological Anthropology | Biological and Physical Anthropology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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