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Estimating Age at Death of Archaeological Remains: A Comparison of Transition Analysis and Traditional Estimation Methods

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Objectives: The objective of this research is to develop a better understanding of the ways in which Transition Analysis estimates differ from traditional estimates in terms of age-at-death point estimation and inter-observer error. Materials and methods: In order to achieve

Objectives: The objective of this research is to develop a better understanding of the ways in which Transition Analysis estimates differ from traditional estimates in terms of age-at-death point estimation and inter-observer error. Materials and methods: In order to achieve the objectives of the research, 71 adult individuals from an archaeological site in northern Sudan were subjected to Transition Analysis age estimation by the author, a beginner-level osteologist. These estimates were compared to previously produced traditional multifactorial age estimates for these individuals, as well as a small sample of Transition Analysis estimates produced by an intermediate-level investigator. Results: Transition Analysis estimates do not have a high correlation with traditional estimates of age at death, especially when those estimates fall within middle or old adult age ranges. The misalignment of beginner- and intermediate-level Transition Analysis age estimations calls into question intra-method as well as inter-method replicability of age estimations. Discussion: Although the poor overall correlation of Transition Analysis estimates and traditional estimates in this study might be blamed on the relatively low experience level of the analyst, the results cast doubt on the replicability of Transition Analysis estimations, echoing the Bethard's (2005) results on a known-age sample. The results also question the validity of refined age estimates produced for individuals previously estimated to be in the 50+ age range by traditional methods and suggest that Transition Analysis tends to produce younger estimates than its traditional counterparts. Key words: age estimation, Transition Analysis, human osteology, observer error

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Created

Date Created
2017-05

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Analysis of Native American Scalping from the Chavez Pass Population

Description

Scalping has been practiced by the Native Americans since pre-Columbian times in North America and is observed as cut-marks in the form of a rough circle on the superior aspect of the cranium of the individual. For this study, there

Scalping has been practiced by the Native Americans since pre-Columbian times in North America and is observed as cut-marks in the form of a rough circle on the superior aspect of the cranium of the individual. For this study, there are 7 crania with cut-marks evident of scalping from the Southwest population of Chavez Pass. These crania were excavated from the site of Nuvakwewtaqa located in north-central Arizona, in the middle of the Coconino National Forest. Unfortunately, the site was heavily looted through pot-hunter activity, leading to a large collection of commingle remains. The objectives of this study are summarized into three basic question words: Who? Where? And, How? More specifically: [1] whether there is a relationship between age or sex and being a victim of scalping; [2] whether there is a relationship between the burial location and having been scalped; and, [3] whether the age or sex of an individual affected the manner in which they were scalped. For this analysis of scalping, three statistical tests were used: Fisher's exact test, Chi-Square test and two-sample t-tests.

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Created

Date Created
2014-05