Stacy Hackner

Bending Stress and Midshaft Shape Change in the Human Leg

The goal of my research is to analyze differences in midshaft shape in the lower leg between assemblages of ancient people. There is a strong literature supporting change in the tibia and femur over time depending on subsistence method (cf Marchi 2008, showing increasing sedentary behaviour from the Upper Paleolithic to the Italian late Neolithic). Ruff, in particular, has described the cortical thickening responsible for some of the shape change in great detail (1981, 1987). There is also a large literature on biomechanics. The process of midshaft diaphyseal shape change is due to bending stress caused by increased activity: I follow the hypothesis of contemporary researchers and posit that a more robust, “more altered” tibial and femoral shaft implies more activity performed by that individual. Ruff, Marchi, and Stock and Shaw (2009) found significant differences in shaft shape both between sexes and between time periods, results echoed in my masters thesis in which I found evidence for increased sexual dimorphism and decreased robusticity between the Kerma Classique and Meroitic time periods using collections from the British Museum’s Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan (2011). I plan to expand on previous studies using new assemblages and radiographic methods.


 Educational background

  • MSc, Skeletal and Dental Bioarchaeology, UCL 2011
  • BA Honors, Anthropology, University of Chicago 2010

 “Platycnemia in Two Nubian Populations.” Presented at Nubia Before the New Kingdom Conference, Leicester University; 6 Sept 2012.

“Us and Them: Molle and Maize Beer in the Prehistoric Andes.” Presented at 76th Society for American Archaeology Meeting; April 2011

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