Date of Award

Summer 8-12-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Bethany L. Turner

Second Advisor

Jeffrey B. Glover

Third Advisor

Frank L’ Engle Williams

Fourth Advisor

Hugh B. Matternes


This research is a comparative analysis of oral health from three historic African-American cemeteries in Georgia. The Area 1 (9CH1168), Area 2 (9CH875) and the Avondale (9BI164) cemeteries were excavated and relocated from 2008-2010. The aggregate population consists of 486 individuals, spanning pre-and-post-Reconstruction eras. Statistical and bioarchaeological techniques are used to address the hypothesis that differential nutrition and subsequent health outcomes significantly vary (as estimated from dental analyses), based on the cemetery’s composition, location, and individuals social status. Oral pathological conditions were characterized in an effort to identify variation between populations, while moving beyond a monolithic narrative of the African-American experience in the post-Bellum South. A statistical range of variation within and between the cemeteries was observed, revealing differences in the frequency of pathologies between cemeteries based on age and sex. Maladies most greatly afflicted Avondale’s population, Area 1 experienced the least and Area 2’s females had the most oral pathologies.