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ARCHAEOLOGY > Determination of age from the skull

 

Determination of age using the skull

Age estimation using a skull is often banded in quite broad terms:

  • Child/adolescent (based primarily on tooth eruption patterns)

  • Young Adult

  • Middle aged

  • Elderly

The various stages of adulthood can be estimated by tooth eruption and wear (see, for example, Mays, pages 52-56). 

Age can also be estimated by cranial suture closure. The frontal or metopic suture usually heals in early adulthood, but can persist in some individuals as a non-metric variation (i.e. some people genetically retain the metopic suture throughout life).

Closure of the sagittal suture can occur in older age in skulls.

Below are some examples of skull sutures.

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