A life history is comprised of many elements and events: memories, migration, beliefs, wealth, status, health, and even death. Of these life history elements, health is one of the significant traits to trace in bioarcheological studies. Biological variation is an observable trait in skeletal remains, especially that of limb asymmetry, stature, robusticity, and sexual dimorphism. These characteristics, depending upon the extent seen, can provide an insight into sociocultural and environmental practices that may have affected the person and/or population’s quality of life. The Milwaukee County Poor Farm skeletal collection is comprised of a historical population spanning one hundred years and whose members share similar social and economic status, yet their life histories may vary in terms of ethnicity, migration patterns, cultural beliefs, and even cause of death. A regional comparison to three comparable case studies will be used to determine if populations with similar life histories demonstrate parallel biological characteristics and/or pathologies. With the analysis of specific metric and non-metric traits, in reference to other published and historical works, sociocultural elements of historical populations may be traced
Date of Degree
Master of Science (MS)
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Zahn-Hiepler, S. (2019). Tracing life histories through biological manifestations in a 19th-20th century Midwestern poor farm: Asymmetry, robusticity, and adaptive response at the Milwaukee Poor Farm [Master's thesis, Minnesota State University, Mankato]. Cornerstone: A Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works for Minnesota State University, Mankato. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/etds/955/
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