Jess working in the lab

Older, smaller, taller?

September 8, 2015 7:34 am 0 comments

Dr Jess Pearson is shown here analysing some of the skeletons which we find buried below the houses and in the open areas between houses at Boncuklu.

The years are not kind to the human remains we find, with age, rain and pressure of people and vehicles moving over the mound weaken the structure and the bones routinely break during excavation. This makes Jess’s job pretty difficult as she uses the shape and size of the bones (measured between fixed points known as landmarks) and the presence of marks on the bones to reconstruct everything from the age and sex of the individuals to what they may have died from. We are commonly asked “how tall were people in the past?” We have very few bones which can be used to estimate height (known as stature) but Jess’s latest estimate is 1.67m just 1cm shorter than Turkey’s modern average height of 1.68m! Interestingly, Boncuklu’s people appear to be on average 14cm higher than the people of Çatalhöyük, though the sample size there is much bigger and we have used different bones to calculate the height. We will continue to look for new skeletons to increase our census of measurements and allow Jess to see if this initial result is accurate.

Fragments of a skull from BK

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