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Department of Archaeology


Ms Jennifer Sharman

(email at

Research Topic

A Test of Age and Sex Determination Methods on Documented Skeletal Collections.


My doctoral research explores the efficacy of age and sex determination techniques used in bioarchaeology to analyse differences in the ageing process across space and time, from antiquity to modern times.
Sex and age identification of human remains are essential for most bioarchaeological studies, including paleodemographic reconstructions, and are of the utmost importance in forensic anthropology. Accuracy in the methods of estimation is essential. Many methods exist and are applied to skeletal remains from populations of all time periods globally. However, studies show differences in the expression of sex characteristics and rates of ageing in populations from different locations and time periods; thus, some methods may be more appropriate to particular samples than others.
This project tests age and sex techniques on ‘documented’ 17th to early 20th century adult skeletons from Canada, England, and Portugal. I will test age determination based on fourth rib, cranial suture and pelvic changes (the pubic symphysis and auricular surface). Sex determination will be based on morphological skeletal features such as the subpubic concavity and skull morphology. Differences between estimated and known values will be tabulated and synthesized for each collection.
By comparing the variation in accuracy between sex and age estimates for the skeletal collections, I will analyse the efficacy of each method for individuals of different spatial and temporal locations. This will help future studies, in that possible error in sex and age estimates may be recognized and avoided, or at least accommodated, providing more confidence in data produced from such studies.


Sharman, J. 2008, November 7. ‘Fertility in Paleodemography: Roman Period Kellis 2, Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt’ at the 36th annual Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology meeting, Hamilton, Ontario.

Sharman, J. 2006, October 26. ‘The Mysterious Rickley Remains' at the 34th annual Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology meeting, Peterborough, Ontario.

Sharman, J. 2004, October 30.  'Sex Determination Using the Clavicle: the Grant Collection' at the 32nd annual Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology meeting, London, Ontario.


Books: sections

  • Sharman, J. (2009). Infant Feeding and Weaning Practices as Data for Fertility Estimates of a Roman Period Population Sample from Kellis 2, Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt. In Proceedings from the 2008 Food and Drink in Archaeology Conference, University of Nottingham, April 2008. Baker S, Grey A, Lakin K, Poole K, & Sandias M Totnes: Prospect Books. 81-89.

Journal papers: academic

  • Kron, H., Paulaharju, L. & Sharman, J. (2006). Salvage excavation of two burials at St. John-in-the-Wilderness Church, Bright’s Grove, Ontario. Kewa 6(4): 14-18.