Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Age Estimation

  • Sue BlackEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_141


Age is a measure of how long a person or an object has existed. A reliable estimation of the age of an individual 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 starts 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 distinct options: the time since fertilization, the time since intrauterine implantation, or, most commonly, the time since birth.

Key Issues

Early Years

The clinical disciplines of Medical Embryology and Obstetrics wish to know the date of fertilization to permit them to calculate the age of an embryo or a fetus. However, unless there has been only one sexual event, then this timing is unlikely to be a certainty, and so clinicians opt to calculate the age of the fetus from a more reliable event – the last menstrual period (LMP)....

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, College of Life SciencesUniversity of DundeeDundee, ScotlandUK