Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology (PhD)

Degree Level





Jerome C. Rose

Committee Member

Justin M. Nolan

Second Committee Member

J. Michael Plavcan


Social sciences, Childhood stress, Dental anthropology, Enamel defects, Health, Jordan, stress theory


Northern Jordan has seen periods of climate change, political transformation, and economic prosperity between the Late Bronze Age to the end of the Byzantine period. This research tests the assumption that the rural agricultural communities of this region were undernourished by examining the dentition for periodic childhood stress. Canine teeth from five sites (Ya'amun, Sa'ad, Yasileh, Natfieh, and Waqqas) that covered the time periods in question were collected to study overall quality of life.

The teeth were thin-sectioned and examined under a light microscope. Digital micrographs were made of the thin-sectioned teeth in order to record the number and location of enamel defects. Canines have been shown to be the most susceptible to the stressors that cause surface enamel defects. Linear enamel hypoplasias (LEHs) and Wilson bands are enamel defects resulting from systemic stress during the formation of enamel. LEHs form in response to severe and long-term nutritional deficiencies, while Wilson bands can develop under short periods of minor stress.

The statistical analyses revealed trends in the frequency and timing of enamel defects within the sample. An increase in both LEHs and Wilson bands was seen in the years when weaning is expected to occur. A climate shift from lower annual rainfall to higher annual rainfall has been documented within the study time period, however there is no evidence for reduced nutritional stress in the form of fewer enamel defects in the later periods. An increase in Wilson bands is seen in Roman and Byzantine periods as compared to the Bronze Age suggests that Social and political factors had an impact on childhood stress during the later periods. There is no evidence that living at any one site resulted in a better quality of life.

This research has shown that if a study uses only LEH data, bigger picture seen in the Wilson band data may be missing. It may be assumed that the quality of life may be better during the rule of large empires and worse during periods of drier climate, however this research shows that Social factors may have a bigger impact on childhood stress than climate.