Paleodemography and the Plague

Paleodemography, like demography, is concerned with mortality, fertility, population structure and life expectancy (among other things). Unlike demography proper, paleodemography rarely has written records such as birth and death certificates to draw on and has to rely on skeletal indicators of age, gender, etc. This has lead to some heavy criticisms of the field (“A Farewell to Paleodemography”, “Paleodemography: Not Quite Dead Yet”, etc. and yes the latter tittle is a Monty Python reference) which I don’t intend to discuss here. Suffice to say, the field has had to develop some interesting methodologies to overcome some of the limitations in the data of interest.

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