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A Bayesian approach to ageing perinatal skeletal material from archaeological sites : implications for the evidence for infanticide in Roman-Britain.

Gowland, R. L. and Chamberlain, A. T. (2002) 'A Bayesian approach to ageing perinatal skeletal material from archaeological sites : implications for the evidence for infanticide in Roman-Britain.', Journal of archaeological science., 29 (6). pp. 677-685.

Abstract

The skeletal remains of substantial numbers of perinatal human infants have been excavated from within a variety of archaeological contexts dating to the Romano-British period. It has been argued that the distribution of ages at death of these infants, which appears to exhibit a pronounced neonatal peak, provides evidence for infanticide. This study re-evaluates the osteological evidence for infanticide in Roman Britain by first identifying biases in traditional techniques for estimating the age of perinatal skeletons and then using a Bayesian procedure to reassess the ages at deaths of almost 400 infants from a number of Roman sites throughout England. We conclude that the apparent peak in neonatal mortality shown by earlier investigations is an artefact of regression-based age estimation. The distribution of ages at death in Romano-British infants is similar to a natural mortality profile.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Bayes' Theorum, Mortality, Roman, Infant.
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jasc.2001.0776
Record Created:26 Jun 2009 15:20
Last Modified:09 Dec 2009 09:25

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