Puberty and Adolescent Growth Workshop 2020

This workshop provides the background and methods to recording puberty in archaeological skeletal remains. It is designed for researchers, students, professional osteoarchaeologists and other academics interested in exploring adolescence in the past.


Session 1. Puberty and Adolescence in bioarchaeology (14th July 2020)

This session outlines recent studies into puberty and adolescence in the past and considers the future potential and challenges of this research.

Before the session:

If you have a chance before the session, watch this video on changes that occur during puberty - its made for teenagers and is very entertaining - but covers many aspects that we should consider when thinking about adolescents and their behaviour in the past:


After the session:

The lecture:

 Session 1 Questions and Answers

Session 2. Ageing and sexing older children (16th July 2020)

This lecture covers the sexing and ageing methods used in the original puberty study, as well as some of the challenges. You will have the opportunity to carry out a 'decision' making task at the end of the talk.

Before the session:

If you get chance before the session read this review paper that explains the status of child bioarchaeology research and includes references to new child sexing techniques (pre-peptides!).

Lewis ME. 2018. Children in Biological Anthropology: methods, limitations, future potential. In: Katzenberg A and Grauer A. Biological Anthropology of the Human Skeleton. New York: Academic Press, pp. 119-143. Access author copy here. 


After the session:

The lecture:

 Session 2 Questions and answers


Session 3. Assessing puberty stage (17th July 2020) 

This session explains the methods used to measure the age of transition through various stages of the adolescent growth spurt as a proxy for the physical development associated with sexual maturation (puberty). You will get the chance to review the puberty stage 'decision-making' table in the session.

Before the session:

If you get chance, check out this video on hormones and physical changes that occur in adolescence:


After the session:

The lecture:

Session 3 Questions and Answers


Puberty Assessment Recording form (with Table):

This form walks you through the age and sex assessment and provides details of the puberty assessment features:

Puberty Assessment database:

One of the ambitions of this research is to collate data from various sites across Europe from different scholars. In most cases you will only be able to apply the method to one individual, but when added together with individuals from many sites and periods we have the opportunity to build a better picture of adolescent development in the past.

If you are willing to submit your data to this database, please could you use the following MS Excel fields and email the results to: You will be fully credited for your data.

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