Demographic Investigation of a Piscataway Creek Ossuary

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Skeletal material from an ossuary on Piscataway Creek was analyzed to determine the minimum number of individuals present, and their sex, stature, developmental life stage and age at death. Cultural debris indicated a date of about 1400-1500 A.D. for the burial. At least 281 individuals were recovered, based on a count of right femoral and temporal petrous portions. Although no sex determination was possible for the 68 juveniles, age at death for this group ranged from 7 foetal months to 18 years. For the 213 adults, sex was evenly divided for the population, and mean stature was fixed at 172.86 cm. for males and 160.61 cm. for females. 107 adults died during young adulthood; 81 died during middle age; and 16 died during old age. A sample of each life stage was tested microscopically to determine age at death. Young adults averaged 56.19 years; and old adults averaged 65.71 years. Average age at death for the entire population was 39.33 years.