COMMENCING several thousand years before Christ and continuing to the time of European contact, the prehistory of eastern North America portrays a series of cultural adaptations. In the earliest periods, hunting and gathering were the exclusive economic pursuits; in the latest periods, agriculture was the primary pursuit. In a review of the paleopathologic literature, Buikstra1 demonstrated that cases of prehistoric skeletal lesions, thought to be tuberculous, were more frequently reported for the later agriculturally based groups when compared with the earlier hunting and gathering groups. We think that this association between paleopathology and culture history is more than coincidental; indeed, the paleopathologic and paleoepidemiologic record of eastern North America closely mirrors human culture history.
We report on skeletal lesions in six late prehistoric American Indians recovered from a burial mound at the Turpin Farm near Cincinnati. The site, excavated by the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History, yielded the remains