Publications by authors named "Kevin Salesse"

4 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Revisiting metric sex estimation of burnt human remains via supervised learning using a reference collection of modern identified cremated individuals (Knoxville, USA).

Am J Phys Anthropol 2021 Mar 15. Epub 2021 Mar 15.

Maritime Cultures Research Institute, Department of History, Archaeology, Arts, Philosophy and Ethics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.

Objectives: This study aims to increase the rate of correctly sexed calcined individuals from archaeological and forensic contexts. This is achieved by evaluating sexual dimorphism of commonly used and new skeletal elements via uni- and multi-variate metric trait analyses.

Materials And Methods: Twenty-two skeletal traits were evaluated in 86 individuals from the William M. Bass donated cremated collection of known sex and age-at-death. Four different predictive models, logistic regression, random forest, neural network, and calculation of population specific cut-off points, were used to determine the classification accuracy (CA) of each feature and several combinations thereof.

Results: An overall CA of ≥ 80% was obtained for 12 out of 22 features (humerus trochlea max., and lunate length, humerus head vertical diameter, humerus head transverse diameter, radius head max., femur head vertical diameter, patella width, patella thickness, and talus trochlea length) using univariate analysis. Multivariate analysis showed an increase of CA (≥ 95%) for certain combinations and models (e.g., humerus trochlea max. and patella thickness). Our study shows metric sexual dimorphism to be well preserved in calcined human remains, despite the changes that occur during burning.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrated the potential of machine learning approaches, such as neural networks, for multivariate analyses. Using these statistical methods improves the rate of correct sex estimations in calcined human remains and can be applied to highly fragmented unburnt individuals from both archaeological and forensic contexts.
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March 2021

Estimating age-at-death in burnt adult human remains using the Falys-Prangle method.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2021 May 31;175(1):128-136. Epub 2020 Dec 31.

Maritime Cultures Research Institute, Department of Art Sciences & Archaeology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.

Objectives: The Falys-Prangle-method assesses age-related morphological changes to the sternal clavicle end (SCE), enabling the observation of mature adults from the 5th decade onwards in unburnt human skeletal remains. The aim of this study is to investigate the applicability of the Falys-Prangle-method on burnt human remains.

Materials And Methods: Fifty-two SCE of 40 cremated individuals (out of 86) from the William M. Bass collection of the Forensic Anthropology Center (Knoxville, Tennessee) of known age-at-death and sex are available for assessment. Surface topography, porosity, and osteophyte formation are evaluated, after which the calculated composite score is associated with the corresponding age range as described by Falys and Prangle. The method is also applied on an archaeological case study from Oudenburg, Belgium, dating to the Roman period.

Results: The assessed age ranges strongly agree with the true age ranges (α = 0.828), suggesting the Falys-Prangle-method to be applicable on burnt human remains. The case study from Oudenburg yields markedly improved age-at-death estimates, significantly enhancing our understanding of the age distribution within this community.

Discussion: Information on age-at-death is key in the construction of biological profiles of past individuals. The mature adult is often invisible in the archaeological record since most macroscopic age estimation methods do not distinguish beyond 46+ years old. Our study stresses the usefulness of a large-scale application of the Falys-Prangle-method, which will increase the visibility of mature adults, especially in archaeological burnt human skeletal collections, where such information is, at present, extremely difficult to obtain.
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May 2021

An isotopic case study of individuals with syphilis from the pathological-anatomical reference collection of the national museum in Prague (Czech Republic, 19th century A.D.).

Int J Paleopathol 2019 06 30;25:46-55. Epub 2019 Apr 30.

Department of Anthropology, National Museum, Václavské námĕstí 68, 11579, Praha 1, Czech Republic.

Objective: This paper aims at investigating the possible existence of isotopic offsets in δC and δN values in relation to tertiary syphilis.

Material: Based on materials from the 19th c. A.D. deriving from the pathological-anatomical reference collection (the Jedlička collection) of the National Museum in Prague (Czech Republic), a comparative approach of ten individuals with syphilis and nine without the disease was undertaken.

Methods: Bone powder samples were defatted according to the protocol of Liden et al. (1995). Bone collagen was extracted following the protocol of Bocherens et al. (1991).

Results: Our results show that individuals with syphilis have lower δC values than individuals without the disease; the observed difference between the two groups is about 0.3-0.4‰, which is relatively small but still meaningful. However, no difference between δN values of the two groups has been noticed.

Conclusions: Either diets prescribed by physicians to syphilitic patients or nutritional stress caused by cyclic appetite disturbance due to the disease itself or the administered medical treatment appeared to be possible explanations of the observed isotopic pattern. Overall, the response of the two isotopic proxies could argue for relatively limited nutritional restrictions.

Significance: This is the first study examining bone collagen isotopic response to syphilis based on clinically documented human skeletal materials.

Limitations: The sample sizes are relatively small and cautiousness must be taken regarding the interpretations of the data.

Suggestions For Further Research: Compound-specific stable isotope investigations and analysis of mercury content could be helpful to better understand the observed isotopic effects.
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June 2019

Life history of the individuals buried in the St. Benedict Cemetery (Prague, 15th-18th centuries): insights from (14)C dating and stable isotope (δ(13)C, δ(15)N, δ(18)O) analysis.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2013 Jun 16;151(2):202-14. Epub 2013 Apr 16.

Laboratoire PACEA - De la Préhistoire à l'Actuel : Culture, Environnement et Anthropologie, UMR 5199, CNRS, Université de Bordeaux, 33400 Talence, France.

Funerary practices and bioarchaeological (sex and age) data suggest that a mortality crisis linked to an epidemic episode occurred during the fifth phase of the St. Benedict cemetery in Prague (Czech Republic). To identify this mass mortality episode, we reconstructed individual life histories (dietary and mobility factors), assessed the population's biological homogeneity, and proposed a new chronology through stable isotope analysis (δ(13)C, δ(18)O and δ(15)N) and direct radiocarbon dating. Stable isotope analysis was conducted on the bone and tooth enamel (collagen and carbonate) of 19 individuals from three multiple graves (MG) and 12 individuals from individual graves (IG). The δ(15)N values of collagen and the difference between the δ(13)C values of collagen and bone carbonate could indicate that the IG individuals had a richer protein diet than the MG individuals or different food resources. The human bone and enamel carbonate and δ(18)O values suggest that the majority of individuals from MG and all individuals from IG spent most of their lives outside of the Bohemian region. Variations in δ(18)O values also indicate that all individuals experienced residential mobility during their lives. The stable isotope results, biological (age and sex) data and eight (14)C dates clearly differentiate the MG and IG groups. The present work provides evidence for the reuse of the St. Benedict cemetery to bury soldiers despite the funeral protest ban (1635 AD). The Siege of Prague (1742 AD) by French-Bavarian-Saxon armies is identified as the cause of the St. Benedict mass mortality event.
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June 2013