Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Zuckerman, Molly K.

Committee Member

Herrmann, Nicholas P.

Committee Member

Copland, Toni J.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Applied Anthropology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures


Despite numerous studies, little is known about the influential factors impacting treponemal disease susceptibility. Yet, forms of treponemal disease, specifically yaws, are a major source of morbidity in the developing world. Bioarchaeological materials may assist with deficit by testing full ranges of disease expression. This study explores the relationship between treponemal disease ecology, specifically yaws, and susceptibility through six southeastern United States archaeological samples. Results show early life health experiences have a relationship to later life disease expression. However, influences of climate may only be seen at a cross-regional level. Finally, although nutrition, as evidenced by subsistence strategy, may play a role, within this study, frequencies of treponemal disease are higher in smaller, kinship based groups, rather than large scale societies due to patterns of disease epidemiology. These results should assist with the eradication campaign of yaws announced by the World Health (WHO) organization by 2020.