Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Bethany Turner-Livermore

Second Advisor

Dr. Nicola Sharratt

Third Advisor

Dr. Haagen Klaus

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Frank Williams


Early life stress impacts frailty and is important for understanding mortality in ancient populations. Utilizing Wilson bands (WB) from enamel thin-sections, this thesis explores displays of phenotypic plasticity, early life stress between pre-Hispanic and Colonial samples, and osteobiographical accounts of individuals associated with the Formative (3200-200BCE, n=2), Late Moche (550-800CE, n=11) and Late Sicán (1100-1375CE, n=1) periods from the Ventarrón archaeological complex in northern coastal Peru. Late Moche individuals had high prevalences of WB, potentially linking low socioeconomic status to acute, episodic early childhood stress. Pre-Hispanic individuals with WB displayed greater frailty and earlier mortality than those without, indicated by lower average ages at death. Differences in WB prevalence between these Ventarrón cohorts compared to previously studied Colonial cohorts by Garland et al. (2016) showcase the importance of not treating pre-Hispanic cultures as an unchanging monolith. Future studies expanding this database will provide a more nuanced understanding of these patterns.


File Upload Confirmation