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Institute of Archaeology

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Valentina Bernardi

Valentina Bernardi

A bioarchaeological investigation of the effects of agricultural intensification on disease prevalence and skeletal development in the Middle Nile population, from the Meroitic to Medieval period.

 




Email: valentina.bernardi@ucl.ac.uk
Section: Archaeological Sciences

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A bioarchaeological investigation of the effects of agricultural intensification on disease prevalence and skeletal development in the Middle Nile population, from the Meroitic to Medieval period.

During the Post-Meroitic and early medieval periods, Ancient Nubia experienced an agricultural intensification due to the introduction of the Saqia (water wheel) and the introduction of new crops. The aim of the project is to assess the impact of agricultural intensification and food diversification on the skeletal development and burden of disease of the Upper Nubian population, and how the effects of these varied between the different social strata of the population. With the introduction of the saqia and new crops, fields were cultivated all year round, causing a considerable increase in the time spent and the work involved in caring for the fields and processing the harvests. The project aims also to analyse the evidence for activity-related markers to assess how the increased amount of work affected the health of the population. Two of the assemblages selected for this research are of different social status; these will be used to study how the different levels of society were affected by the increased work load and if there was any difference in access to food resources. Isotopic analysis was done on three of the four assemblages (independent study) and will provide important clues about dietary changes. To understand how agricultural intensification and introduction of new crops impacted Upper Nubian population, the project will analyse the skeletal development and disease prevalence of four skeletal assemblages from upper Nubia, from Meroitic, Post Meroitic and Medieval periods, with a special focus on the spine.

Education

    • BA Archaeology UCL 2008
    • MSc Dental and Skeletal Archaeology UCL 2009