Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Carolyn Freiwald

Second Advisor

Lexi O'Donnell

Third Advisor

Matthew Murray

Relational Format



This thesis presents updated sex and stature estimates for ancient Maya females and males who lived in San Juan and Chac Balam in northern Ambergris Caye from approximately AD 700-900.

The regression formulae used in this study reflect a closer population affinity to the Maya compared to the equations used in the original analysis by Glassman (1995). Del Angel and Cisneros’ (2004) formulae were used when estimating stature based on a complete long bone. In Steele and Bramblett (1988), Steele and McKern (1969) and Steele (1970) regression formulae were used when estimating stature based on an incomplete humerus, femur, or tibia. Population specific stature formulae (del Angel and Cisneros 2004) were compared to nonspecific stature population formulae (Trotter 1970; Steele and Bramblett 1988). Bass (1995) cited Stewart (1979) for sex estimates based on the maximum diameter of the humeral and femoral heads; Frutos (2005) and Miller Wolf (personal communication) also provided metrics for the maximum humeral head diameter.

The results from this study show statistically significant shorter stature for these individuals than initially estimated by Glassman (1995), but similar sex estimations. These updated analyses can provide further insight into the daily lives and overall health of the ancient Maya from Ambergris Caye.

Conclusions drawn from this research include how different, population specific, regression formulae create a significant difference in the stature estimation for individuals from San Juan and Chac Balam during the Classic Period. Also, it is possible for stature to be estimated using regression analyses for fragmented long bones, although it is not always as accurate as using a complete bone measurement. Population specific metrics for the humeral and femoral heads can alter the results of sex estimation as well. Accurate stature formulae are an important foundation for estimating stature and understanding the health of modern and past populations.

Accessibility Status

Searchable text

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.