A bioarchaeological perspective on diet and health consequences of Akkadian imperial consolidation at Kish, Iraq

Blair M Daverman, Purdue University


This study utilizes a bioarchaeological approach to examine diet before, during, and after imperial consolidation at the Mesopotamian site of Kish. Kish, located on the Euphrates floodplain, was a dominant regional polity until the Akkadian Empire absorbed it during EDIII/AKK period (2400–2300 BC), altering the local socioeconomic organization of Kish, and ultimately the daily life experience. This study examines how the Akkadian presence at Kish (N=132), and subsequent sociopolitical reorganization, may have differentially impacted access to nutritional resources. Dietary indicators, such as alveolar abscesses, antemortem tooth loss, carious lesions, linear enamel hypoplasia, and macroscopic dental wear are examined to assess how diet changes diachronically and differs by sex and socioeconomic status. This study has two primary objectives: 1) investigate the biological consequences of imperial consolidation; 2) elucidate differences in access to nutritional resources between members of differing social identities, including sex and social status. Markers of nutritional deficiency peak during the Early Dynastic III/Akkadian period when the Akkadian Empire seized control of Kish. These data suggest that imperial consolidation had effects on the diet and overall health of Kish inhabitants.




Buzon, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Archaeology|Forensic anthropology

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