Intersecciones en antropología
On-line version ISSN 1850-373X
ARRIETA, Mario A; BORDACH, María de la Asunción and MENDONCA, Osvaldo J. Precolumbian tuberculosis in Northwest Argentina: Rincón Chico 21 cemetery (rch21), Santa María, Catamarca. Intersecciones antropol. [online]. 2011, vol.12, n.2, pp. 245-260. ISSN 1850-373X.
Systematic excavations of collective burial sites makes possible the recovery of sets of skeletons in which some skeletons show bony evidence of infectious pathological conditions. The presence and distribution of bone markers may reflect the way in which individuals responded to diseases and states of morbidity, such as those caused by mycobacterial infection. In this paper, the results of ongoing research on pathological conditions in prehistoric peoples of Northwest Argentina are presented. Bone tissue pathologies observed in individuals from Rincón Chico 21 cemetery were recorded, described, analyzed, discussed and, finally, interpreted as caused by mycobacterial infections (Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex). In the critical analysis and discussion of the dynamics of biocultural interactions information related to contextual associations and chronology was taken into account. It was concluded that a TB like disease was present in prehistoric populations from Northwest Argentina. At Rincón Chico 21, six individuals out of seventy so far excavated provided evidence of the existence of the disease in the Santa María Valley between the end of the Late Ceramic Period and the onset of the expansion of the Inca Empire.
Keywords : Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex; Differential diagnosis; Osteoarchaeology.