Anthropology, Department of


First Advisor

Dr. William R. Belcher

Second Advisor

Dr. Brittany S. Walter

Third Advisor

Dr. Emily Hammerl

Date of this Version



Ghannam, S. H. (2020). Estimating Age from 2D and 3D Imaging of Skeletal Remains: An Assessment of Reliability Using the Medial Clavicle (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Nebraska.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Anthropology, Under the Supervision of Professor William Belcher. Lincoln, Nebraska: July 2020

Copyright 2020 Sarah H. Ghannam


Research into the utility of digital imagery in conducting remote forensic analyses, or analyses of remains occurring outside of the laboratory, is necessary for the progression of forensic anthropology as new technologies arise. This research assesses the utility of 2D photographs and 3D scans in the assessment of the stage of fusion of the medial clavicular epiphysis. In this study, six participants analyzed 44 physical clavicles, photographs, and 3D scans to determine if stage of fusion can be reliably assessed using digital imagery. The participants either had extensive anthropological experience or no experience, which allows for assessment regarding how experience level can affect the use of digital imagery. The relative reliability of scores produced using photographs and 3D scans is also assessed. This study uses the five-phase method of scoring, as proposed by McKern and Stewart (1957), and also includes an analysis of the way that collapsing this method into the three-phase method of scoring, as proposed by Langley-Shirley and Jantz (2010), affects scoring when using different modalities. Interpretations were made by assessing absolute difference, differences greater than one phase, and weighted kappa analysis. Also, single scorer reliability using all modalities is assessed using intraclass correlation. The results indicate that experienced observers produced the most reliable scores of the medial clavicle. The three-phase method of scoring as proposed by Langley-Shirley and Jantz (2010) was found to be less subjective and more reliable than the five-phase method of scoring. Photographs were found to produce more reliable scores than 3D scans.

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