Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Peacock, Evan.

Committee Member

Rafferty, Janet E.

Committee Member

Zuckerman, Molly K.

Committee Member

Herrmann, Nicholas P.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Applied Anthropology

Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures


This thesis is a comparative and descriptive study of a turn of the 20th century human commingled skeletal collection from Memphis, TN. The Memphis Regional Forensic Center (MRFC) collection is over four hundred elements recovered in various states of fragmentation. This study focused primarily on the occurrence and prevalence of anatomical cutting and osteoarthritis of the MRFC collection in comparison to contemporary osteological samples to provide insight into a subset of people living in late 19th/early 20th century Memphis, TN. In the framework of biocultural theory, it was discovered that the MRFC collection likely represented individuals subjected to “structural violence” through medical dissection. An analysis of the Shelby County mortality records also appears to support this possibility. Finally, based on osteoarthritis prevalence, it was inconclusive whether or not the collection represented a more urban or rural population.