When analyzing skeletal remains in bioarchaeology, the pelvis and skull provide the most accurate results for sex estimation; however, these are not always present or sufficiently preserved to provide quality data for this purpose. In addition, the amount of time spent analyzing human remains in field or museum collection contexts may be constrained. Therefore, alternate methods of sex estimation that also increase efficiency should be explored. This study aims to establish the minimum number of key measurements of the talus necessary to estimate biological sex with a level of accuracy comparable to published studies that are more time intensive in their data collection. Measures of talus width, length, height, and volume were collected on individuals from two ancient Egyptian (N=162) and three ancient Maya (N=98) archaeological populations. Set points and allocation ranges for these four measures were applied to individuals of known sex and indeterminate sex from these populations to test their accuracy and then compared with the accuracies achieved in existing research using the talus in sex estimation. The four measures used in this study resulted in comparably high accuracy in sex estimation when compared with prior research based on more extensive methods using the talus. The most significant limitation of this study was the small number of individuals available for data collection from three of the smaller site populations. Nevertheless, the method used in this study directly addresses logistical and ethical concerns surrounding the analysis of human remains as it requires less time spent handling the remains and less time spent on analysis out of the field while still providing comparable accuracy. This study also contributes population data for ancient Egyptians and ancient Maya which will facilitate further investigations of sexual dimorphism and sex estimation in these populations.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
Anthropological Methods and Practice Track
Marks, Melissa N., "Evaluating Morphometric Analysis of the Talus for Biological Sex Assessment in Ancient Maya and Egyptian Archaeological Populations" (2022). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1250.