Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

Living Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith (Editor-in-Chief)

Age Estimation

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51726-1_141-2


Age can be defined as a simple measure of how long a person or an object has existed. A reliable estimation of the age of a human requires there to be a well-defined and documented event to which the duration of a known passage of time can be ascribed. The thorny question then arises about “when” a human begins to exist. This temporal moment of definition between existence and nonexistence can be difficult to fix in relation to the human and generally has three measurable options: the time since fertilization or intrauterine implantation (which have most value for embryological or fetal aging), or, most commonly, the time since birth for those who survive the uterine environment and a safe passage into the outside world.

Key Issues

Clinical practitioners, but especially pediatricians, wish to know the date of fertilization to permit them to calculate the age of an embryo or a fetus and to assess that development is progressing at the predicted and normal pace. However,...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, School of Science and EngineeringUniversity of DundeeDundeeScotland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Soren Blau
    • 1
  • Luis Fondebrider
    • 2
  • Douglas H. Ubelaker
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Forensic Medicine, Victorian Institute of Forensic MedicineMonash UniversitySouthbankAustralia
  2. 2.The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense, EAAF)Buenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.National Museum of Natural HistorySmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA