Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Zuckerman, Molly K.

Committee Member

Herrmann, Nicholas P.

Committee Member

Copeland, Toni J.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Campus Access Only


Applied Anthropology

Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures


In 2013, Mississippi State University recovered 67 individuals from the Mississippi State Asylum Cemetery (1855-1935) in Jackson, Mississippi. The first goal of this research was to investigate heterogeneous frailty and varying life histories between MSA skeletal demographic groups. The second goal was to contextualize the MSA skeletal data via comparisons of MSA oral pathology and mortality data to other contemporaneous institutional skeletal samples in the U.S. as well as non-institutional skeletal samples in the southern U.S. Oral pathology data included linear enamel hypoplasias, caries, and antemortem tooth loss and demographic data included age and sex estimations. Results did not reveal any significant differences in oral health or mortality within the MSA sample. Additionally, the comparison of institutional samples exhibited generally similar prevalence of oral pathologies, but the MSA sample exhibited fewer individuals with oral pathologies and higher life expectancy than non-institutional comparative samples.