Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Lee Meadows Jantz

Committee Members

Walter E. Klippel, Benjamin M. Auerbach, William Seaver


Body size of a population is influenced by its environmental conditions and thus reflects the standards of living experienced by individuals within a population. In this research, for the purpose of investigating the standards of living in the Korean societies for the past two millennia, the pattern of secular changes in stature and body mass of the Korean populations were examined using both anthropometric and osteometric data. In addition, because of the necessity of reconstructing body sizes from the skeletal remains, new Korean-specific equations for stature and body mass estimation were developed using the hybrid method.

The newly developed equations presented here provide a better performance in accuracy and precision compared to the previous equations that have been used to estimate stature and body mass in Korea. In regards to stature, a U-shaped secular change pattern was found for both females and males: the average stature decreased after the Three Kingdom period and increased again in the 20th century. The average body mass also increased in the 20th century for both sexes but its pattern of secular change did not exactly follow patterns identified with stature. Sexual difference in the pattern of secular changes were also identified in the 20th century.

The pattern of secular changes in stature and body mass was discussed in terms of anthropometric history, occurrence of infectious diseases, quality of life, and cultural practices in Korea. Also, caveats to the newly provided equations are explained.

This research is expected to have a positive impact not only on the Korean community but also on worldwide anthropological and anatomical research, both in regards to archaeological and forensic contexts. In archaeology, this research will provide a systematic and appropriate basis to assess standards of living of Korean societies in the past. Moreover, any anthropological research of which topic is related to human variation, anthropometry, and secular changes on a worldwide scale will benefit from the results of this research. Lastly, in forensics, the new equations in this research will produce more accurate body size estimates for Korean victims not only in Korea but also in other countries.

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