Morphological characterisation and molecular sex determination of human remains from the 15th-17th centuries in Latvia

Asta Ščesnaite-Jerdiakova, Liana Pliss, Guntis Gerhards, Elina Petersone Gordina, Agnija Gustiņa, Ilva Pole, Egija Zole, Janis Kimsis, Inta Jansone, Renate Ranka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Sex determination is one of the most important and initial steps in human profile identification from archaeological material. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the application of molecular approaches alongside morphological methods for sex determination in archaeological human skeletal remains. Human skeletal remains were excavated from three cemeteries: St Gertrude Old Church, Dom Square and St Peter's Church, of 15th-17th century burials in Riga, Latvia. Morphological and molecular genetic methods, including amplification of genes AMELX/Y and SRY were used to analyse seven skeletal remains. The conducted analyses of morphological features identified sex in all seven cases (two females and five males). By molecular analyses of mediaeval DNA it was possible to determine sex in five of seven (71%) samples. In all positive cases full agreement between morphological estimation and molecular genetic methods was observed. To conclude, DNA analysis can be considered for sex identification in cases with no signs of sexual dimorphism (juvenile skeletons) or partially preserved skeletons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, Section B: Natural, Exact, and Applied Sciences
Issue number1/2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Amelogenin
  • Ancient DNA
  • Anthropological characteristics
  • Archaeological material
  • SRY

Field of Science*

  • 1.6 Biological sciences
  • 6.1 History and Archaeology

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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