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Osteoware: Standardized Skeletal Documentation Software

Osteoware: Standardized Skeletal Documentation Software

The Inventory Module

The Osteoware Inventory Module is composed of four data entry pages: Cranium (open by default), Axial Skeleton, Appendicular Skeleton, and Hands and Feet. Nearly all bones in the human skeleton are listed in these data entry pages and each listed bone has an associated blank/empty box when a record is opened for the first time.

If a bone is missing/absent then the inventory box is left blank for that bone; however, if the bone is present then a value on a scale of 1 to 3 must be entered. This follows the inventory codes as established by Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994):

1=Complete; cortex intact (at least 75% of the bone is present)

2=Partial or Damaged (25 - 75% of the bone is present)

3=Fragmentary or badly eroded (less than 25% is present)


The Cranium Inventory data entry screen

Commingled Individuals & Bones

Inventories of commingled bones (remains not belonging to the main Catkey number) are entered into the database by clicking the check box in the purple Commingled section on the Cranium data entry screen. This opens a menu for three commingled inventory pages for Infants, Subadults, and Adults. However the Osteoware Home Screen also contains the 'Tracking' and 'Add Individual' special function for managing commingled remains.

The Track button on the Home Screen opens the special Tracking database for recording osteological data from isolated commingled bones such as age, sex, pathology, metric observations, et cetera. Tracking is used when bones found with the main individual do not constitute an additional individual and have the potential to be reassociated to another individual/catkey. Osteological data for these ‘Tracked’ bones remains separate from the main record.

Pressing the Add Individual button on the Home Screen creates a new record in the Data Subset by adding a suffix (an A, B, C and so on) to the current Catkey. This new catkey will be added to all database tables and will thus contain the complete complement of empty modules ready for data entry. All of the Home Screen special functions are discussed in the complete User Manual available in the Downloads section of this website.

Partial remains of a 1 to 2.5 year old added as a new individual to a catalog number. An “A” was appended to the Catkey of the 12 to 15 year old it was commingled with, since no other individuals from the archaeological site were consistent with this age.

Postcranial Nonmetric Traits

In the bottom right corner of the Cranium data entry page is an area currently reserved for basic Postcranial Nonmetric Trait data entry. There are plans to expand this into a stand-alone module in future versions of Osteoware. For now the choices are limited to four common traits as found in Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994) “Standards”.

Inventory Comments

A large text field for Inventory-related comments is located on the third inventory screen, the Appendicular Skeleton screen. These comments can be transferred directly to the Summary Paragraph module via the comments transfer buttons located in that module. Therefore inventory comments (including any commingled bones) should be comprehensively entered in order to save time when composing the summary paragraph.


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