March 16, 2004 | Press Release

Paleodemography workshop in Lauchheim

A workshop on the structure and dynamics of historical population groups will be taking place from March 17 to 19 in the Kapfenburg Castle in Lauchheim. This event has been organized and financed by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock (MPIDR). Talks will be held at the workshop by members of the MPIDR as well as by scientists from Germany and abroad.

The main focus of the Paleodemography Workshop will be on comparing various methods and techniques for determining the age at death of humans on the basis of bones and skeletons. The work of these researchers from around the world is focused on the so-called "Lauchheim Project", which involves determining the age at death of human skeletons from an early medieval cemetery. With its further development of the method of determining age of death on the basis of Tooth Cementum Annulation, the MPIDR is doing the lion's share of the work in determining the age of the 1,368 skeletons. Teeth have annual rings just as trees do, and they make it possible to determine a person's age. One of the main goals of the analysis is to discover more about the life expectancy of earlier populations. In addition to determining age at death, the investigation of the skeletons can provide insights into the living conditions of a population. This information is of great importance to demographers and historians alike, since it provides scientifically sound data about times and circumstances for which there are no written records.

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.