Bridget Cordelia Bey
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationWashington U.
Grant numberGr. 10284
Approve DateApril 13, 2022
Project TitleBey, Bridget (Washington U., St. Louis) "Coming-of-Age in the Ancient Andes: A Bioarchaeological Evaluation of Early Life Course History, Puberty, and Gender in Late Pre-Hispanic Andean Culture"
The archaeological study of adolescence reveals insights into the biosocial process of puberty. Biologically, the critical developmental process of puberty defines adolescence, yet puberty is also the social process by which a child becomes an adult. This project investigates puberty as shaped by physical and social factors. I examine adolescence in the late pre-Hispanic Andes (800-1500 CE) to assess how growth and development interacted with childhood health, environmental conditions, and gendered cultural systems. I will analyze 370 individuals, 5-30 years old, from three Peruvian skeletal collections: Omo M10, Chen Chen, and Estuquina. My objectives are to: 1) establish and compare pubertal growth/development curves across Andean and global samples, 2) investigate the long-term effects of stress on the life course, and 3) assess how sex-based patterns of pubertal development may reflect the onset of gendered practices in burial context. To do so, I combine traditional osteological methods for estimating age-at-death, sex, and stature with more recent methodologies for the assessment of pubertal growth and determining juvenile sex through proteomic analysis. The scope of this project allows me to reconstruct and compare early life course histories and evaluate the effect of physical and psychosocial stress related to diet, disease, and gender.