Proof of Burden
Bones bear the burden of proof in telling the unwritten stories of the Chesapeake’s colonial history.
In many cases, a skeleton embodies the proof of many burdens. These remains represent the thousands upon whose backs early America was built — the men, women, and children, immigrant and American-born, who were small landowners, tenant farmers, bondservants, and slaves.
Schmorl’s Depression, Herniated Disk
Spinal column defects reflect excessive physical strain and activity. Traumatic and heavy loading can compress the spine, producing hollowed depressions in the vertebrae as the tissue of the disks bulges into the bone.
Vertical compression, if severe enough, can also cause “wedging” of the vertebrae, eventually leading to a stooped posture. The thoracic vertebrae, pictured above, are of a young adult male with herniated disks from a lifetime of lifting and carrying heavy loads.
Spondylolysis — Vertebral Stress Fracture
Although individuals may be predisposed genetically to these fatigue fractures of the vertebral arch, a triggering trauma or frequent stress on the lower back, such as repeated bending, is required for fracturing to occur.
See one of this activity from the webcomic that shows heavy labor patterns in other bones.