Dakhla Oasis (Egypt), Hip joint -- Diseases -- Egypt -- Kellis (Extinct city), Human remains (Archaeology) -- Egypt -- Kellis (Extinct city), Human skeleton -- Diseases -- Egypt -- Kellis (Extinct city), Joints -- Diseases -- Egypt -- Kellis (Extinct city), Kellis (Extinct city), Knee -- Diseases -- Egypt -- Kellis (Extinct city), Osteoarthritis -- Egypt -- Kellis (Extinct city), Paleopathology -- Egypt -- Kellis (Extinct city)


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative pathological condition of the appendicular joints which affects the cartilage and underlying bone. OA is relatively common in both the archaeological and clinical context, and a significant amount of research has been conducted on this osteological condition. The purpose of this thesis is to assess the incidence, demographic prevalence, and general severity of hip and knee OA in a Roman-Christian period (50 A.D – 450 A.D) population sample from the Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt. The bioarchaeological sample originates from the Kellis 2 cemetery which is associated with the ancient town of Kellis. The town of Kellis is believed to have been a prosperous economic hub in Egypt, located in the Western Sahara Desert approximately 250 kilometers west of the Nile. The skeletal samples (n=135, 83 females and 51 males) was visually assessed for the osteological characteristics of OA in the hips and the knees. Joint surfaces of the hip include the acetabulum and femoral head. Joint surfaces of the knee include lateral/medial tibio-femoral compartments and the patellofemoral compartment. The ages of the individuals assessed in this study range from 19-72 years, and have been divided into five age categories which were then cross-tabulated with sex and OA incidence in order to determine demographic prevalence of OA. Findings indicate that age is a significant etiological factor of OA prevalence for both males and females. Males are afflicted by the disease significantly more than females in the hips (F: [L] 3.6%, [R] 5.9% and M: [L] 13.7%,[R] 13.7%) and also slightly more affected in the knees(F: [L] 17.5%,[R] 18.3% and M: [L] 22.9%,[R]21.3%). The acetabulum tends to be more arthritic than the femoral head for both males and females. Femoral condyles tend to be more arthritic than tibial condyles for both males and females. The patello-femoral compartment tends iv to be the most arthritic part of the knee while the medial condyles of both tibiae exhibit virtually no OA (with the exception of one individual). The joint surface observed with the highest OA prevalence is the femoral surface of the patella (F: [L] 17.5%,[R] 15.9% and M: [L] 21.3%,[R] 21.3%). The highest prevalence of OA by joint complex is observed on the left knee in males (22.9%), and the lowest prevalence of OA is observed on the left hip of females (3.6%). Both hip and knee joints have higher prevalence of unilateral OA manifestation than bilateral. Isotopic and archaeological evidence indicates that the individuals at Kellis maintained an agricultural subsistence regime, and that the males within the population may have been highly mobile migrating to and from the Dakhleh Oasis. Subsistence agriculture has its necessary physical demands which may have been a contributory factor to OA rates. Males show higher OA rates than females throughout the joints of the legs. Sexual dimorphism of OA for the hips is suggestive of sexual divisions of labor. OA of the knees lacks sexual dimorphism therefore the knee joint complex of males and females were likely subjected to similar levels of mechanical loading. It can be concluded based on the OA data that males and females exhibit similar activity, or biomechanical stress levels in the knee joint complexes. Males exhibit significantly higher pathological manifestation of OA in the hip joint complexes, indicative of higher levels of mechanical loading in the hip joint complex which can theoretically be attributed to sexual divisions of labor or perhaps terrestrial mobility


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Graduation Date





Dupras, Tosha


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program









Release Date

December 2011

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

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Anthropology Commons