Stature estimation in ancient Egyptians: A new technique based on anatomical reconstruction of stature



Trotter and Gleser's (Trotter and Gleser: Am J Phys Anthropol 10 (1952) 469–514; Trotter and Gleser: Am J Phys Anthropol 16 (1958) 79–123) long bone formulae for US Blacks or derivations thereof (Robins and Shute: Hum Evol 1 (1986) 313–324) have been previously used to estimate the stature of ancient Egyptians. However, limb length to stature proportions differ between human populations; consequently, the most accurate mathematical stature estimates will be obtained when the population being examined is as similar as possible in proportions to the population used to create the equations. The purpose of this study was to create new stature regression formulae based on direct reconstructions of stature in ancient Egyptians and assess their accuracy in comparison to other stature estimation methods. We also compare Egyptian body proportions to those of modern American Blacks and Whites. Living stature estimates were derived using a revised Fully anatomical method (Raxter et al.: Am J Phys Anthropol 130 (2006) 374–384). Long bone stature regression equations were then derived for each sex. Our results confirm that, although ancient Egyptians are closer in body proportion to modern American Blacks than they are to American Whites, proportions in Blacks and Egyptians are not identical. The newly generated Egyptian-based stature regression formulae have standard errors of estimate of 1.9–4.2 cm. All mean directional differences are less than 0.4% compared to anatomically estimated stature, while results using previous formulae are more variable, with mean directional biases varying between 0.2% and 1.1%, tibial and radial estimates being the most biased. There is no evidence for significant variation in proportions among temporal or social groupings; thus, the new formulae may be broadly applicable to ancient Egyptian remains. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.