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Clinical Epidemiology and Ageing

Cementochronology and sex: A reappraisal of sex-associated differences in survival in past French societies.

Blondiaux J, Naji S, Audureau E, Colard T Int J Paleopathol. 2016;15:152-163.

The objective of the present study is to test our general knowledge of sex-specific survival differences in past northern France societies by implementing the tooth cementum annulations method of age estimation (i.e., cementochronology) to bio-archaeological series. 1255 individual estimated ages at death covering a millennium from the 3rd c. AD to the 15th c. AD matched different patterns of sex mortality from the late Antiquity to the Late Middle Age. Female survival curves are consistently inferior to those of their male counterparts. Maternal mortality is clearly visible in survival curves between 20 and 50 years of age in individual sites and pooled samples. Variations of sex mortalities also affected sites with peculiar recruitment, such as religious communities, pathological samples, leprosaria, and migrants. Whisker plots of median ages at death variations confirmed in both sex that populations within the Early Middle Ages were better off compared to Late Antiquity and Late Medieval Ages when group inequalities prevailed. Due to its sensitivity and applicability to small samples, cementochronology should be extended to other series.

MeSH terms: Age Determination by Teeth; Dental Cementum; Female; France; History, 15th Century; History, Ancient; History, Medieval; Humans; Language; Male; Maternal Mortality; Societies
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpp.2015.05.001

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