Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

First Advisor

Megan Moore, Ph.D., D-ABFA

Second Advisor

Julian Murchison, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Ann R. Eisenberg, Ph.D.


Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is caused by compression of the nerves of the brachial plexus leading to paresthesia, muscle and bone atrophy, and pain in the affected arm. TOS can be identified on the skeleton through multiple skeletal indicators such as cervical ribs or bone atrophy. The lack of identification of TOS in bioarchaeological remains limits the amount of knowledge that can be gained from archeological populations in relation to social care and respect for physically disabled individuals. This study explores bioarchaeological evidence of TOS, including evidence of prehistoric medical procedures and community support to the disabled. Novel differential diagnoses are made for two case studies from previously analyzed individuals. One case study is from a medieval cemetery in Portugal and the other is from a Woodland era site in Colorado. These two cases both demonstrate skeletal indicators of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome by using the Bioarchaeology of Care theoretical model.

Included in

Anthropology Commons