Determination of Sex in Absence of Direct Observation

Another fundamental objective is to determine the sex of the mummified individual. Conventional radiography can be very useful if the mummified remains are wrapped or

Figure 2.69 An AP pelvis of a chachapoya mummy demonstrating a subpubic angle, indicating a male.

within an enclosure. Key radiographs include an AP or PA and lateral projections of the pelvis and a lateral view of the skull. Although magnification on the radiographic image precludes direct linear measurements, the calculation of angles is unaffected. However, rotation of the body part would increase distortion and complicate the calculation. An AP or PA of the pelvis would reveal the subpubic angle. An angle of less than 90° suggests a male (Figure 2.69), and greater than 90° suggests a female (Figure 2.70). On a lateral projection of the pelvis, the greater sciatic notch is a fairly good indicator of the sex of the individual (Walker 2005) (Figures 2.71 and 2.72). The presence or absence of a browridge on a lateral view of the skull can also be used to indicate the sex of an individual. The presence of the browridge suggests a male (Figure 2.73), whereas the absence of the structure suggests a female (Figure 2.74). Additionally, the prominence of the occipital protuberance can help with sex determination (Figures 2.75 and 2.76).

Figure 2.70 The greater subpubic angle seen in the pelvic radiograph of this chachapoya mummy, indicating a female individual.

Figure 2.71 The narrow angle of the greater sciatic notch (arrow) demonstrated on the lateral projection of the pelvis of this chachapoya mummy suggested a male.

Radiographic assessment of the long bones in terms of their robustness or gracile appearance can add data for interpretation related to this objective. In some cases where the differentiation is not obvious, artifacts associated with the remains and demonstrated on the radiographs may suggest the sex of the individual. For example, in the Chachapoya culture of north-central Peru, a pincer, used for pulling out whiskers, is frequently included within the mummy bundle of a male (Figure 2.77) and tupu and/or spindle-whorls are found in female bundles (Figure 2.78).

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