• age determination;
  • subadult skeleton;
  • odontology;
  • historical archaeology;
  • DNA;
  • Y chromosome;
  • mtDNA


Excavation of an early historical (circa 1900) church cemetery in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, revealed the graves of six individuals. All but one had been previously excavated and the individuals were re-interred elsewhere. The remaining grave contained a coffin burial of an infant including most of the skeleton, crowns of forming deciduous teeth, scalp and hair. The remains were excavated and historical research was carried out to determine possible families who had used the cemetery. Skeletal and dental age estimates pointed to a particular individual described in historical records. This identification was confirmed through more precise ageing by dental microstructure, sex determination using DNA, and finally, maternal relatedness by comparison of mtDNA with a living female relative. In addition to describing the analytical methods used, this paper demonstrates the importance of accurately identifying historical burials, particularly when living relatives remain in the community. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.