Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Lyle Konigsberg

Committee Members

Richard Jantz, Lee Meadows Jantz


Bayes’ theorem is a conditional probability formula with the potential for aiding in the development of more accurate age-at-death estimations in perinatal remains. This investigation tested the validity of a Bayesian method for aging by applying the formula to 495 sets of historical Native American remains from several Arikara sites in South Dakota. The dates for these sites range from the 1600’s to the 1830’s. Dr. Oystein E. Olsen generously provided the reference sample data of 348 sets of perinatal remains from Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway collected between January 1988 and December 1998. The goal of this analysis was to determine the probability that perinatal remains of an unknown age were at least 24 weeks gestation based on the length of the femur. Results of this study illustrated that Bayes' theorem can be useful in providing a probability of viability of unknown perinatal remains.

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