Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Anthropology

Content Description

1 online resource (v, 233 pages) : illustrations (some color), maps.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Sean Rafferty

Committee Members

Gwyn Madden, Adam Gordon


Agriculture, Bioarchaeology, Ukraine, Hunting and gathering societies, Agriculture, Prehistoric, Paleobiology, Excavations (Archaeology), Cucuteni-Trypillia culture

Subject Categories

Biological and Physical Anthropology | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology


The development of agriculture and its spread around the globe is one of the most consequential events in the history of our species. The transition to agriculture is associated with many cultural developments, such as craft specialization, urbanization, and the creation of social hierarchies. Many social theorists believe that these changes associated with the adoption of farming were beneficial to the human condition, however, not all agree. The goal of this research is to evaluate the impact of the adoption of agriculture on human health. To do this, bioarchaeological analysis is employed, comparing the skeletal and dental health of Mesolithic and Neolithic foragers from Ukraine with later Eneolithic farmers from the region. Specifically, the two groups are compared in terms of enamel hypoplasias, stature, and dental caries. The farming population was also examined for porotic hyperostosis, cribra orbitalia, periostitis, and periodontal disease. Statistical tests demonstrate that the early agriculturalists experienced a significantly higher rate of enamel hypoplasias and dental caries, as well as had significantly shorter long bone lengths. This indicates that the transition to agriculture in Ukraine was detrimental to human health, resulting in significantly more physiological stress and dental disease. The early farmers were also found to have moderate to high rates of porotic hyperostosis, cribra orbitalia, and periodtonal disease, which is further evidence of their compromised health. The adoption of farming in prehistoric Ukraine likely resulted in poor health through heavy reliance on nutritionally-poor cereals, settlement in permanent population-dense villages, and close contact with domesticated animals.