Sex Identification and Kinship Typing of Human Archaeological Remains

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The last decade has seen major advances in the study of ancient DNA from humans and other species, driven by the application of next-generation sequencing (NGS) techniques and the discovery that the densely packed bone of the petrous otic capsule provides a favourable environment for DNA preservation. The advent of NGS techniques has provided greater scope to kinship studies but sex identification, and basic studies of maternal relationships via mitochondrial DNA typing, are still frequently carried out by ‘old-fashioned’ methods based on the polymerase chain reaction. The traditional method of sexing human skeletal remains makes use of dimorphic bone morphology allied with morphometric data obtained from reference collections of modern or recent human populations. DNA-based kinship analysis is also contributing to a more general understanding of social structure at prehistoric settlement sites.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Archaeological Sciences
EditorsA. Mark Pollard, Ruth Ann Armitage, Cheryl A. Makarewicz
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Ltd
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781119592112
ISBN (Print)9781119592044
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2023


  • dimorphic bone morphology
  • DNA preservation
  • DNA-based kinship analysis
  • human archaeological remains
  • mitochondrial DNA typing
  • next-generation sequencing techniques
  • sex identification


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