Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Frank Williams

Second Advisor

Dr. Bethany Turner-Livermore

Third Advisor

Dr. Nicola Sharratt


Forensic anthropologists are commonly tasked with constructing a biological profile when attempting to identify an individual based on skeletal remains. During this process, age estimation is commonly accomplished by scoring the auricular surface of the os coxae. However, extrinsic factors such as obesity can influence the morphology of skeletal elements such as the auricular surface. In a sample of 151 individuals from the Bass Skeletal Collection at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, three age groups (30-49, 50-64, and 65-80) and both biological sexes were examined, and their sacroiliac joints scored, using the Buckberry & Chamberlain system. This research attempts to expand on previous literature which indicates that obese individuals are often overestimated with respect to age based on the scoring of the auricular surface. The implication is that body weight, when available, should be considered when estimating age-at-death using the auricular surface to improve the accuracy and completeness of the biological profile.


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