Integrating Bioarchaeology and Palaeodemography

Clare McFadden, Marc F. Oxenham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Summary The late 1960s and the 1970s saw palaeodemography emerge as a new field, with preliminary methods, applications and issues developed and noted by a number of archaeologists, biological anthropologists, and demographers. Palaeodemography is the study of the dynamics of past populations, typically those that lack historical census data. This chapter explores how demographic theory and methods have been integrated into palaeodemography within the context of archaeology. It discusses the manner in which theory has influenced palaeodemography, including the amalgamation of theoretical concepts into palaeodemographic methods and the interpretive framework in which analyses are contextualized. The chapter discusses at length the development of methods in palaeodemography and how these have evolved over time and responded to criticisms from within and outside the field. Palaeodemographic methods were originally derived from demographic approaches but have evolved to meet the requirements and challenges of working with bioarchaeological data.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Archaeological Sciences
EditorsA. Mark Pollard, Ruth Ann Armitage, Cheryl A. Makarewicz
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781119592112
ISBN (Print)9781119592112
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2023


  • bioarchaeological data
  • biological anthropologists
  • demographic theory
  • palaeodemographic methods


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