Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Dr. J.E. Molto


Few problems have confounded bioarchaeological research as that of aging older (> 40 years) adult human skeletons. Researchers have targeted virtually every area of the skeleton and dentition in order to develop sequences of morphological and microscopic changes that can be correlated with chronological age. The key problem is that the morphological and microscopic changes are more variable with increasing age and this variance reduces their correlation with chronological years. In the past three decades molecular research has impacted virtually every research area in bioarchaeology except aging. The main objective of this thesis is to test aspartic acid racemization in human dentine as a means of obtaining age-at-death estimates from skeletonized remains. I found that without standard operating procedures this methodology is problematic. Suggestions are given in order to standardize this methodology for use in future bioarchaeological research projects.



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