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Osteoware: Standardized Skeletal Documentation Software

Osteoware: Standardized Skeletal Documentation Software

Cranial Nonmetric Traits

Cranial nonmetric traits, sometimes called epigenetic or quasi-continuous traits, are often used in hypothesis tests involving the population history from past peoples. The Osteoware Cranial Nonmetric Traits module prompts the user to collect 62 of these traits (both sides and midline) in a systematic fashion through the use of drop-down menus that allow only one data entry selection to be made.

  • 62 traits may be scored from right, left, and midline aspects
  • Entry screens and drop-down menus promote systematic data collection
  • Large text field to accommodate qualitative observations

Horizontal Cranial Non-Metric

The module consists of five data entry screens: Facial (the data entry screen opened by default), Lateral, Basilar, Mandibular, and Comments. This layout reflects the basic organization presented by Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994) and Hauser and De Stefano (1989), though there are some departures from the traits listed in the latter reference.

The Facial data entry screen with ‘2. Complete’ selected for the L Infraorbital suture trait, and the drop down menu for R Infraorbital suture activated. ‘9. Unobservable’ is selected (in blue highlight) though the choice is not committed since the window is still blank.

On occasion traits may display variations not present or described in any standard; in such cases a large text field for Comments is provided on the last data entry screen. You may also use the comments field to mention the observation of unusual traits on different catkey numbers within the same data subset/skeletal series possibly indicating biological relationship.


Buikstra, J.E. and D.H. Ubelaker. Standards for Data Collection From the Human Skeletal Remains. Arkansas Archaeological Survey Research Series No. 44. Arkansas Archaeological Survey: Fayetteville, 1994.