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SISTERS BUT NOT IDENTICAL TWINS: SOME CAUTIONARY NOTES ON ADOPTING FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGICAL METHODS IN BIOARCHAEOLOGY

By July 31, 2022Vol. 9.1

by Nikita, E. and Chovalopoulou, M.E.

ABSTRACT

Age-at-death, sex, and stature estimation from adult human skeletal remains lie at the core of bioarchaeolog-ical and forensic anthropological research. Several methods have been proposed for such estimations, with almost all of them being developed using modern documented skeletal collections. Therefore, unavoidably bioarchaeology largely adopts relevant methodologies from forensic anthropology. Applying these osteolog-ical age-at-death, sex, and stature estimation methods to archaeological skeletal remains relies on the inher-ently flawed assumption that biological processes are homogenous across time and space. This paper offers a brief review of some of the key methods bioarchaeology has adopted from forensic anthropology, stressing the limitations of blindly using methods developed based on contemporary assemblages on archaeological ones, but also on systematic efforts that have been made to address these limitations.

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