Skeletal health and the abandonment of a late-terminal formative urban center in the Mixteca Alta: A bioarchaeological analysis of human remains from Cerro Jazmín

Veronica Perez, Ricardo Higelin Ponce de León, Antonio Martínez Tuñón

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


This article presents the results of a bioarchaeological analysis of 39 human remains recovered from Late and Terminal Formative burials excavated from residential and civic-ceremonial contexts at Cerro Jazmín, a site that emerged in the Early Ramos period (Late Formative, 300 BCE) and thrived until the end of the Late Ramos period (Terminal Formative, 200–300 CE). We evaluate the osteological evidence to characterize the skeletal health of the ancient population at various points of the city's occupation and consider the bioarchaeological data along with their archaeological context—associated offerings and location—to identify broader patterns of skeletal health and mortuary treatment. The skeletal health and burial context data are used as proxies to assess the population's quality of life and determine whether that quality of life deteriorated in the centuries leading up to the city's abandonment at the start of the Early Classic period (300–500 CE). The late Terminal Formative burial sample suggests an increase of infant mortality rates prior to the city's abandonment, while adult burials display overall good skeletal health in the population. We discuss whether this pattern may have been a factor in the city's demise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-736
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • Bioarchaeology
  • Late formative
  • Mixtec
  • Osteological analysis
  • Skeletal health
  • Urban collapse
  • Urbanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology

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