Methods for the Detection of Census Error in Palaeodemography


  • 1

    I wish to thank Dr. Patrick Cleaver, Dr. Morris Sunshine, Dr. George Armelagos, and Dr. Kingsbury Heiple for their assistance and advice in the preparation of this paper.


Recent dramatic improvements of archaeological technique have been accompanied by renewed interest in demographic variables deducible from skeletal populations. Although such data will provide meaningful insight into changes in population biology and structure resulting from significant socio-economic shifts, such conclusions must be subjected to more sophisticated methods of treatment and analysis. Techniques are suggested for the detection of intra-population census error and also for examination of the reliability and meaningfulness of extra-population comparisons. Employment of these should minimize census error and serve to establish the reliability of demographic inferences based on comparison of discrete skeletal samples.