• cortical bone;
  • radiography;
  • bone weight;
  • bone loss;
  • osteoporosis


The study of osteoporosis in past populations provides insight into the history and evolution of this condition. The Cortical Index is a relative measure of cortical bone often used for identifying individuals with age-related bone loss associated with osteoporosis. Current methods of measuring the Cortical Index involve radiography or cutting actual sections of long bones at the mid-shaft. We propose a new index, the Meul Index as means for estimating the Cortical Index without the use of radiography. Based on a preliminary study of 13 individuals consisting of 9 males, 3 females and one unknown sex, ranging in age from young to older adult, the Meul Index is highly correlated with the Cortical Index (r = 0.903). The proposed Meul Index provides a non-destructive and inexpensive means for studying age-related bone loss in prehistoric and historic populations represented by skeletal samples. Our research builds on the recent publication of Silva, A.M., Crubezy, E. and Cunha, E. 2008. Bone weight: new reference values based on a modern Portuguese identified skeletal collection. Int. J. Osteoarchaeol. DOI: 10.1002/oa.998. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.