Current methods in skeletal biology have improved significantly our ability to estimate the demographic parameters of extinct populations. Gross morphological and histological age indicators have been developed and tested in a variety of contexts, revealing great variation in the levels of accuracy of age prediction of each indicator. Primary attention is given here to the best-performing hard-tissue indicators of age and to composite methods of recovering the age and sex distribution of a cemetery. It is becoming increasingly apparent that some cemetaries should not be used for demographic reconstruction. Such collections have no bearing on the feasibility of paleodemographic research. Our review concludes with discussions about the role of comparing modern mortality patterns to those of paleodemography, and the issue and impact of departures from stationary demographic conditions during prehistoric times.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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