Palaeodemographic interpretation of skeletal assemblages of past populations: a new evaluation of early medieval cemeteries at the 3rd and 6th churches in Mikulčice
- age at death,
- mortality tables,
- model mortality,
- Great Moravia
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Copyright (c) 2020 Eliška Zazvonilová, Petr Velemínský, Jaroslav Brůžek
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
The first part of this article presents the current state of palaeodemography. The pitfalls of any interpretation are issues of reliability in the age at death estimation for adult individuals allowing an exact classification into a maximum of three broad age classes (e.g. up to 30 years, 30–60 years and over 60 years). The possibilities of a new interpretation of the mortality profile with respect to the model mortality of the archaic population (e0 = 25–35 years) according to Ledermann are presented, based on three examples of recent excavations (Prague-Lahovice, Janíky and Diváky – Padělky nad humny). The text draws attention to the fact that the palaeodemographic analysis of cemeteries is carried out with the aim of identifying demographic anomalies, and not to determine any direct demographic characteristics of the population sample. The second part of the paper deals with a revision of sex and age at death in individuals at two Mikulčice cemeteries (at the 3rd and 6th churches) since their first rocessing in the second half of the last century. Our results showed consistency in sex estimates, though not in age at death assessments. The development of current methods of estimating age at death from the skeleton is associated with the possibility of estimating individuals older than 60 years, who could not be identified correctly using earlier methods.