Skeleton Games

Osteoarchaeology, archaeology, and pretending to be an adult.


Practical Significance: Ordinal Scale Data and Effect Size in Zooarchaeology

  • by S. Wolverton, J. Dombrosky and R.L. Lyman

"Quantitative analysis of zooarchaeological taxonomic abundances and skeletal part frequencies often relies on parametric techniques to test hypotheses. Data upon which such analyses are based are considered by some to be ‘ordinal scale at best’, meaning that non-parametric approaches may be better suited for addressing hypotheses. An important consideration is that archaeologists do not directly or randomly sample target populations of artefacts and faunal remains, which means that sampling error is not randomly generated. Thus, use of inferential statistics is potentially suspect. A solution to this problem is to rely on a weight of evidence research strategy and to limit analysis to descriptive statistics. Alternatively, if one chooses to use statistical inference, one should analyse effect size to determine practical significance of results and adopt conservative, robust inferential tests that require relatively few assumptions. Archaeologists may choose not to abandon statistical inference, but if so, they should temper how they use statistical tools" (read more/open access).

(Open access source: International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, in press 2014 via; top image: English Heritage)

St Louis archaeological society sells Egyptian treasure



The national leadership of the American Institute for Archaeology (AIA) has voiced its “deepest concern” over a planned sale on 2 October of ancient Egyptian “treasure” by a St Louis chapter of the organisation. The AIA says it was not consulted before the collection, estimated to bring in…

Anonymous asked: If lower jaw bones are fused together, why do they come apart in decomp?


The lower mandibles of many species aren’t actually fused together by bone but are connected by cartilage called the mandibular symphysis. The jawbones of cows, all dogs, all cats, all deer, opossums, mustelids, rodents, and many others are held together by this fibrous material so when it rots away via decomp the mandible halves seperate. All of the jawbones pictured are held together only by glue.


Some animals do have jawbones where the bone itself is fused together though. Pigs, apes (including humans!), badgers, horses and a few others all have fused lower jawbones which won’t come apart after decomp.

But early in life the two halves of these species’ mandibles are still held together by cartilage like other animals. As they mature bone takes the place of the cartilage and the two halves become fused. 

Here’s an adult pig vs. a piglet. See how the jawbones become fused?

As far as I’ve been able to tell no one really knows why some animals are this way and some aren’t. Could be based on diet and the bite force required to eat certain things. Here’s an interesting little article about it all!


A series of fantastic aerial images showing some of the stone fortifications on the Aran Islands, Ireland (from Bing Maps) The only one excavated to date is the magnificent cliff-side fort of Dun Aengus, which has produced evidence of Late Bronze Age habitation. 

California law ensures respect for trans people after death


California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a law that will ensure a trans person’s correct gender identity is reflected on their death certificate. 

The Respect After Death Act requires officials who complete death certificates to consult government-issued documents, evidence from medical procedures, and other proof of a person’s gender identity, presumably to avoid the requirement of listing a person’s name as it appears on their birth certificate. 

Masen Davis of the Transgender Law Center, a cosponsor of the bill, said this was a “common-sense bill that will help protect the dignity of our loved ones upon their passing.”

The Respect After Death Act was inspired by the passing of San Francisco artist and advocate Christopher Lee, who was misgendered after his death in 2012.

“I’m so happy,” said Lee’s close friend Chino Scott-Chung, said in a statement on Friday. “It brings us great solace to know that Christopher’s legacy will live on to protect the dignity of other transgender people, and that their friends and families will hopefully not have to endure what we did.”


(via anthrocentric)



a new zine called shitty horoscopes that i’ll be premiering this year at the Toronto Queer Zine Fair, among other things! hopefully i’ll make volumes available for online purchase soon. credit where credit is due: this was inspired by the huge number of made-up horoscopes floating around tumblr lately, and angry-poems.