Human Evolution

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 253-267

First online:

Life conditions of a roman imperial age population: Occupational stress markers and working activities inLucus Feroniae (Rome, 1st–2nd cent. AD)

  • A. SperdutiAffiliated withDip. Biologia Animale e dell’Uomo, Università “La Sapienza” di RomaSoprintendenza Speciale al Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico, “L. Pigorini” Sez. di Antropologia

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In ancient populations studies, investigation on activity-induced pathology performed by means of an integrated and epidemiological approach can provide useful evidence about physical activities, age of occupancy, sexual differentiation, social stratification and working tasks division of past human groups. The analysis of occupational stress of the skeletal sample coming from the poor necropolis of Lucus Feroniae, a rural town of the Roman Imperial Age, was carried out on: degenerative disease of joints and vertebral bodies, traumas, hypertrophic changes at sites of muscles and ligament insertion, presence of anatomical variants caused by postural habits or body movements.

The results as a whole seem to indicate that the population, likely representative of a low social group (potentially slaves), was precociously and actively employed in heavy manual work activities. These may have included farming tasks demanding lifting, heavy loads transportation and long-distance walking on rough grounds.

Key words

Roman Imperial Age occupational stress markers osteoarthritis enthesopathies traumas