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Institute of Archaeology

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Aaron Gasparik

Aaron Gasparik

Analysing the variations in rotator cuff disease prevalence in skeletal assemblages from different geographic, social and temporal contexts throughout the UK.

 

Email: aaron.gasparik.14@ucl.ac.uk
Section: Archaeological Sciences

Supervisors:

  • Tony Waldron
  • Carolyn Rando
Profile

Analysing the variations in rotator cuff disease prevalence in skeletal assemblages from different geographic, social and temporal contexts throughout the UK

As a dynamic element of the human skeletal system, the shoulder - and the pathological conditions affecting the biomechanics of this structure - can provide insight into our changing activity patterns and health status throughout history. This research will assess the prevalence, distribution and skeletal effects of rotator cuff disease (RCD) in the shoulder joints of a skeletal sample drawn from a range of geographical, temporal and socio-economic contexts throughout the UK. The study will employ diagnostic criteria I developed during my Master's thesis to analyse pathological changes in the articular structures and muscle attachment areas of the shoulder. However, the current research will expand considerably on this previous study by applying the proposed method to a more geographically and temporally diverse skeletal sample.

The goals of this study are to: 1) provide a diachronic analysis of RCD - previously non-existent in palaeopathology - allowing us to examine if and how the prevalence of this condition has changed over time; 2) develop a geographically and temporally broad understanding of RCD to explore how intrinsic and extrinsic factors affect the pathological effects of the disease; and 3) illuminate how occupational activities impact the distribution and prevalence of RCD.

The broad scope of this project will produce a comprehensive picture of RCD prevalence and distribution for each assemblage, which will allow us to explore the temporal, socio-economic and geographical factors that influence the demography and skeletal effects of this disease in much greater detail. Furthermore, given the connections between strenuous activity and the manifestation of RCD, observing skeletal changes associated with this disease in diverse skeletal samples could illuminate how RCD correlates with major shifts in human activity patterns.

Funding

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada)

Education

  • BA, Double Major in Anthropology and History, University of Alberta, 2013
  • MSc, Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology, University College London, 2015