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BRITARCH  August 2000

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Subject:

Re: Newgrange and 'expert' guides

From:

"Mark Hall" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Mark Hall

Date:

Wed, 23 Aug 2000 22:16:28 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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> I have seen average life expectancy figures quoted in a variety of
contexts
> that are based only on the population over the age of 15. These can be
20-30
> years higher than the birth-death averages and are a much better guide to
> the productive (in the economic sense) capacity of a society.
>
> Its tend to be forgotten that an average is an average and mot a maximum.
In
> a society where average life expectancy is 35 at least half the population
> will live on, probably into their forties and fifties.
>
> Catherine Petts

In terms of this whole debate, didn't Brothwell or someone at the BM do
a summary report on the skeletal remains for Ireland and Britain in the
1970s?
I seem to recall an article in the ULSTER JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGY
where he looked at populations, via the skeletal evidence, in Ireland.

The next point is, the mean age could be totally worthless if the population
has a skewed distribution.  Density estimates or modes need to be used, more
than averages.  I know looking at some Sarmatian cemeteries, the female
burials
seem to have a bi-modal distribution---deaths around 20-25 and then a peak
out at 50 plus years.  Clearly showing for women at least, that if they made
out
of childbirth, they could live for awhile...  Male burials show a major mode
in
the early 30's.  You just have to look at it closely.

Just my two yens worth this evening,
Mark Hall




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