THE BIOARCHAEOLOGY OF THE VAT KOMNOU CEMETERY, ANGKOR BOREI, CAMBODIA

Michael Pietrusewsky, Rona Ikehara-Quebral

Abstract


Approximately 60 inhumation burials, of varying states of completeness and preservation, dated between 200 BC and AD 400 (or the early historic period in the Mekong delta) were excavated at the Vat Komnou cemetery located in Angkor Borei, Cambodia, by the University of Hawaii and the Royal University of Fine Arts in 1999 and 2000. The cemetery contained the remains of all age groups from infants to old adults. Over 40% of the burials are subadults. Adult males outnumber females 2 to 1 and most of the adults died as young adults. Osteological analyses are beginning to provide us with our first glimpses of these protohistoric people, associated with early Khmer culture, including evidence of health, disease, physiological stress, injury, physical activity, subsistence, length of life, and cultural modification of bone and teeth. Among the findings are tooth caries, moderate to extreme tooth attrition, and evidence of periodontal disease. Many of the teeth show evidence of betel staining. Healed fractures of the cranium and the infracranial skeleton, although rare, were also observed. Comparisons with other skeletal series from Southeast Asia provide regional context for these preliminary observations.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7152/bippa.v26i0.11997