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The environment and health condition of the upper palaeolithic sunghir people of Russia.

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Laboratory of Physical Anthropology, Institute of Archaeology of Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia.


Human bones from the Sunghir Late Palaeolithic settlement of the Northern-East part of the Eastern European Plane were observed by a gross study of possible skeletal lesions. The complex of pathological conditions we studied could mirror the features of the ancient environment. The climatic conditions of the Upper Palaeolithic, especially in its final stages, were severe. Thus environmental change and the fall of temperature is reflected in the distribution of pathological indicators. The comparative analysis of early and late Upper Palaeolithic populations demonstrates the increasing frequency of some stress markers. The analysis of physiological stress markers convincingly demonstrates that the Sunghir people had an active lifestyle without experiencing considerable negative stress. Living in the cold conditions and a humid climate, the Sunghir people had adequate reactions relative to their life conditions. Different types of physical activity were noted for both children and adult man. It could be that this is the result of the influence of gender diversity in labour.

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