Integrating Immigrants

After recalculating disease frequencies for immigrants versus locals at my two sites (as well as a pooled local/immigrant population) and totting up all the archaeological context information I could find, I did several dozen t tests and Fisher's exact tests to see if there was statistical significance to any of the differences. Not really.

In terms of burial style, it seems that none of the nonlocals had cappuccina burials, but five of the locals did. Perhaps there is a bit of a status divide? There are too few data points to tell for sure. The d13Cap-enamel values were still significantly different (indicating that, on the whole, immigrants had a different diet as children than locals). The only disease processes that differed in frequency between the groups were calculus and antemortem tooth loss at Casal Bertone. Interestingly, the locals had higher frequencies both per tooth and per individual than the nonlocals. But dental disease is rather nonspecific, as processes like calculus are accretional and therefore affect older individuals more than younger individuals. Since the immigrant population is, on the whole, younger than the local population (owing to a bunch of teenagers), it's unsurprising that the local population would suffer more from dental decay.

It does not seem, then, that the immigrant population to Rome had a particularly rough time of it compared to the locals. Being lower class in Rome sucked equally all around. On the other hand, the large number of subadults means that these individuals died soon after arriving in Rome, likely from a disease that doesn't manifest itself on bone immediately - quick-killing infectious diseases, for example. There is definitely more research to be done in terms of epidemiology - how immigrants affected and were affected by the disease load in Rome. I wish I could say more than that immigrants to Rome pursued a strategy of integration - at least in terms of diet and burial style - but I can't tell whether immigrants were, for example, shunned on account of their skin color or mocked because of their accent. Bioarchaeology gets me tantalizingly closer to understanding people who by and large aren't in the histories, but it's still frustrating that I can't find out more.

Unless I can think of other ways to crunch the data, I'm done with analysis for good... or at least in service of the dissertation. All that's left is to write the chapter on migration to Rome, a chapter outlining the lack of significant results above (plus a bit of individual history-writing, just for fun), and some introductory and concluding remarks. It even seems like I'll hit my goal of having completely written the dissertation by the end of March for submission to my advisor and then my committee. I just need to stick with it and write my heart out for the next six weeks. After that, maybe I can stop getting up at 6am every day.


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