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Historiography and forensic analysis of the Fort King George УskullФ Craniometric assessment using the specific population approach.

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AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 140:275–289 (2009)
Historiography and Forensic Analysis of the Fort King
George ‘‘Skull’’: Craniometric Assessment Using the
Specific Population Approach
Christopher M. Stojanowski1* and William N. Duncan2
1
Center for Bioarchaeological Research, School of Human Evolution and Social Change,
Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287
2
Department of Anthropology, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY 14618
KEY WORDS
forensic anthropology; craniometry; southeastern United States; population affinity
ABSTRACT
In this article, we evaluate the association between the Fort King George ‘‘skull’’ and two Franciscans who were killed during a Guale revolt in 1597
and whose remains were never recovered (Pedro de
Corpa and Francisco de Veráscola). The history and historiography of the revolt is summarized to generate a
forensic profile for the individuals. The calvaria is
described in terms of preservation, taphonomy, possible
trauma, age, and sex. Because these factors are consistent with the individuals in question, population affinity
is assessed using comparative craniometric analysis. In
response to recent criticism of the typological nature of
forensic population affinity assessment, we use a population specific approach, as advocated by Alice Brues
(1992). Archaeological and historical data inform the
occupation history of the site, and data from those spe-
cific populations are used in the comparative analysis.
Results of linear discriminant function analysis indicate
a low probability that the calvaria is a Guale (the precontact inhabitants of southeastern Georgia) or an individual of African descent. Comparison among European
and Euro-American populations indicated poor discriminatory resolution; however, the closest match suggests a
New World affinity rather than an Old World English,
Scottish, or Iberian affinity for the specimen. Future
analyses that will provide greater resolution about the
identity of the calvaria are outlined. The case highlights
the unique challenges of historical forensics cases relative to those of traditional jurisprudence, as well as the
potential for using historiography to overcome those
challenges in future analyses. Am J Phys Anthropol
140:275–289, 2009. V 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Forensic contributions to the identification of persons
of historical interest are a crucial component of biological
anthropology’s contributions to the public. From Jesse
James (Stone et al., 2001) to Francisco Pizarro (McGee,
1984; Benfer and Restaure, 1999) to the ill-fated efforts
with Billy the Kid (see Komar and Buikstra, 2008), a
successful identification of historical figures has
attracted public interest and been a point of collaboration between forensic anthropologists and historians
(Pietrusewsky and Willacker, 1997). It is this last point
that makes historical forensic cases distinct from those
found in contexts of contemporary jurisprudence, and it
is the potential to contribute to an historical narrative
that continues to attract the attention of scholars to
such cases. Through the application of forensic methods,
the authors of such studies become footnotes in the
ongoing creation of the history of that specimen, and the
history of that individual. In this article, we address a
longstanding historical question regarding a Spanish
friar from Spanish colonial Georgia.
The focus of analysis is a partial human cranium
reportedly found in the 1950s during excavations at the
Fort King George site near modern-day Darien, Georgia.
This calvaria, poorly provenienced but believed to have
been found along the bluffs of the Darien River, has long
been proposed to be the remains of Fray Pedro de Corpa,
a Franciscan missionary killed and beheaded in Georgia
in 1597. Our involvement with the Fort King George
specimen (hereafter FKG-121) stems from the efforts of
the Franciscans to canonize Fray Pedro de Corpa and
the other four friars (the ‘‘Georgia Martyrs’’) killed dur-
ing the ‘‘Guale Revolt,’’ as well as the desire of Conrad
Harkins, O.F.M. and Vice Postulator for the Canonization
Cause, to verify or falsify this claim (Harkins, 1990). That
a calvaria was found in a presumed 16th century context
in association with a Spanish period mission church where
Pedro de Corpa was thought to have been beheaded seems
to provide the primary basis for this attribution.
In this article, we apply a detailed historiographic perspective to the investigation of this attribution of the calvaria as one of the Georgia Martyrs. Specifically, the
preservation, taphonomy, pathology, sex, and age-atdeath of the specimen are described. Although the last
two of these criteria are weak discriminators with little
exclusionary power, these simple observational data belie
the rationale for the initial attribution claim as Pedro de
Corpa. An adult male with damage to the cranial face
and base is exactly as expected based on the historical
details of the death of Pedro de Corpa (see below). The
primary emphasis of this article, however, is a
more detailed assessment of identity which focuses on
C 2009
V
WILEY-LISS, INC.
C
*Correspondence to: Christopher Stojanowski, Center for Bioarchaeological Research, School of Human Evolution and Social Change,
Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287.
E-mail: christopher.stojanowski@asu.edu
Received 20 August 2008; accepted 10 February 2009
DOI 10.1002/ajpa.21067
Published online 16 April 2009 in Wiley InterScience
(www.interscience.wiley.com).
276
C.M. STOJANOWSKI AND W.N. DUNCAN
population affinity based on comparative craniometric
analysis. In light of recent criticisms of ‘‘race’’ assessment in forensic anthropology, and use of Fordisc in particular (Goodman and Armelagos, 1996; Goodman, 1997;
Smay and Armelagos, 2000; Armelagos and Van Gerven,
2003; Williams et al., 2005), this article proceeds under a
modified methodological framework. That is, for exactly
the same reasons that the Forensic Data Bank (Ousley
and Jantz, 1998) is ideal for the practice of forensic anthropology within a contemporary medico-legal context
(Dirkmaat et al., 2008), it is an imperfect comparative
database for our purposes. Secular trends in the human
body (Angel, 1976; Jantz and Meadows-Jantz, 2000;
Jantz, 2001; Sparks and Jantz, 2002; Gravlee et al.,
2003a,b; Wescott and Jantz, 2005) complicate matters of
identification and group allocation when the age of the
specimen is not modern. Similarly, comparative samples
available in the most widely disseminated databases
(Howells, Forensic Data Bank) are not ideal representatives of the target populations in the case of Pedro de
Corpa. For this reason, we apply an approach advocated
by Alice Brues in 1992 which, as far as we know, has not
been used in a biohistorical case study. A comparative
craniometric database is constructed based on the occupational history of southeastern Georgia, focusing on the
archaeological and historical evidence for human occupation of the Darien bluffs where the Fort King George
specimen was recovered. Recognizing at the outset that
the fragmentary nature of the calvaria precludes optimal
discrimination between groups, the primary purpose of
this analysis is to exclude the possibility that the specimen represents a Native American resident of southeastern Georgia (e.g., Guale) or one of the thousands of African slaves present throughout the region during the colonial period. As such, we seek the exclusion of
alternative identifications rather than a positive identification as construed in forensic consultations (Steadman
et al., 2006). Although this ‘‘specific population’’
approach counters some of the criticisms of using typological interpretive frameworks in forensic practice, it
also highlights some of the difficulties of defining the
‘‘population at large’’ as others have stressed (Steadman
et al., 2006). Nonetheless, this article demonstrates the
strengths and weaknesses of generating forensic profiles
based on historical data. As such, it contributes to the
debate about craniometric analysis in the recent literature (Belcher et al., 2002; Freid et al., 2005; Williams
et al., 2005; Naar et al., 2006; Campbell and Armelagos,
2007; Hubbe and Neves, 2007).
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
The Juanillo Revolt of 1597
The Juanillo Revolt of 1597 culminated decades of
unrest in Spain’s burgeoning La Florida colony (Lanning, 1935; Thomas, 1993). The namesake of the rebellion was a young Guale living at the village of Tolomato
who was stripped of his political title as punishment for
taking a second wife. Juanillo was rebuked publicly by
the friar serving the Tolomato community (Fray Pedro
de Corpa), he retreated with other disenfranchised
Guale, gathered support among interior pagan Indians
and returned to Tolomato where Pedro de Corpa was
killed. Lanning (1935) places the date of de Corpa’s murder on September 13, 1597. A week of violence ensued
resulting in the death of five Franciscans (Pedro de
Corpa at Tolomato, Blas de Rodrı́guez and Miguel de
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Auñón on the island of Guale, and Antonio de Bádajoz at
Tupiqui and Francisco de Veráscola at Asao) and the
capture and torture of a sixth (Francisco de Ávila). The
mutilated remains of three of the friars (Blas de Rodrı́guez, Miguel de Auñón, Antonio de Bádajoz) were eventually found and returned to St. Augustine for proper
burial (Barcia, 1723 [1951]; Lanning, 1935; Geiger, 1937;
Omaechevarrı́a, 1955; Harkins, 1990). However, the
bodies of Pedro de Corpa and Francisco de Veráscola
were not located (Lanning, 1935).
Historiography
The Georgia Martyrs have been discussed in numerous publications (Johnson, 1923; Geiger, 1937; Habig,
1945; Tylenda, 1982; Wyse, 1982, 1985; Harkins, 1990,
nd); however, the actual testimony on which these
accounts are based is quite limited. There were few
direct witnesses to the slayings of the friars and much of
the information from documents contemporary with the
Guale Revolt are second-hand and hearsay. The most
direct evidence comes from the testimony of the Indians
involved in the revolt as reported to Florida Governor
Méndez de Canzo, the testimony of the Spanish authorities responsible for exacting retribution on the Guale, as
well as ecclesiastical sources which generated documentation in the form of reports and letters to the Crown.
These original documents are located in the Archivo
General de Indias and form the basis for Lanning’s
(1935) narrative. Some of these documents are reprinted
in Brooks (1906) based on copies accessed directly from
the archives in Seville (see Bolton, 1925 for details and
A.G.I. record numbers).
Unfortunately, the only eye witnesses to the actual
slayings were the seven Indians captured by Francisco
Fernández de Ecija in the spring of 1598 who provided
testimony to Governor Gonzalo Méndez de Canzo (also
spelled Canço) about their involvement in the murders
(see Brooks, 1906). The quality of this information is limited. One individual (Lucas, the son of the cacique of
Tupique where Blas de Rodrı́guez was killed) was convicted (Brooks, 1906). As far as we know Lucas is the
only person to have provided any direct testimony about
events that he directly participated in, and for that he
lost his life. Lanning (1935, p 101) is clear that he confessed to participating in the murder of Blas de Rodrı́guez after suffering a ‘‘sentence of torment.’’ Given that
this is indisputably similar to torture via water boarding,1 the confession may have been false. The account of
the other captured Guale was less specific and of limited
utility. In fact, they merely seem to concur with what
Lucas had said. The presumed ring leaders of the revolt
had escaped to the interior town of Yfusinique where
they were killed by a force of 500 Guale (Lanning, 1935).
There is no record of testimony from Chief Posache
(spelled Pisiache in Brooks, 1906, p 41), implicated by
Lucas in the murder of Blas de Rodrı́guez (Lanning,
1935) or the unnamed cacique of the Salchiches implicated by the testimony of the Guale named Francisco in
the murder of Pedro de Corpa (Lanning, 1935). This
indicates that the events surrounding the deaths of the
friars are ultimately subject to interpretation.
Luı́s Gerónimo de Oré’s Relación de los Mártires que
ha Habido en las Provincias de la Florida represents the
first significant narrative account of the Georgia Martyrs
written by someone not directly involved in its aftermath. Oré’s writings are based on the account of Fray
FORENSIC ANALYSIS OF PEDRO DE CORPA
Francisco Marrón, who was the ranking Franciscan stationed in St. Augustine at the time of the rebellion, as
well as the testimony of Francisco de Ávila which Oré
recounts from Ávila nearly word for word (Oré, 1936).
The work was published in Spanish by López (1931) and
translated into English by Geiger (Oré, 1936). Other
works make either passing reference to the martyrs and
the revolt or are poetic in nature. These include sources
such as Juan de Torquemada’s Los Veinte y Un Libros
Rituales y Monarquia Indiana, Con el Origen y Guerras
de los Yndios Occidentals . . . (Pou y Martı́, 1927; Torquemada, 1944; see also Franch, 1973; León-Portilla, 1979),
Andrés González de Barcia Carballido y Zúñiga’s Ensayo
Cronologico para la Historia General de la Florida
(Barcia, 1723 [1951]), and Fray Alonso Gregorio de Escobedo’s poem La Florida (Covington and Falcones, 1963;
see also Owre, 1964, Pou y Martı́, 1927; López, 1931;
Omaecheverrı́a, 1955; Gómez-González, 2007).
Barcia’s Ensayo is largely based on Torquemada’s
account, and Torquemada copied his text from Gerónimo
de Mendieta’s Historica Eclesiástica Indiana (Franch,
1973). Neither Torquemada nor Barcia were close
enough to the events of the Juanillo Revolt to be of
much use forensically. Escobedo’s La Florida, although
written shortly after the events of the 1597 rebellion,
disagrees with other published accounts and is considered fanciful and a work of fiction (Geiger, 1937; Covington and Falcones, 1963; Harkins, 1990).
Circumstances of death of the Georgia Martyrs
It is not known exactly how Pedro de Corpa or Francisco de Veráscola were killed, what weapons were used
to kill them, or what happened to their bodies after they
were killed. For de Corpa, Oré (1936) has him praying,
Barcia (1723 [1951]) has him actually on his knees in
prayer, while Lanning (1935) suggests he was on his
way to pray but was not actively praying. However, the
most reliable evidence about the death of Pedro de Corpa
comes from the testimony of the three Guale who provided information to Governor Canzo about the events of
the Guale revolt. All the three indicated that he was
sleeping when he was killed (see Brooks, 1906); however,
no one actually witnessed the killing. Oré (1936), Barcia
(1723 [1951]) and Lanning (1935) indicate Pedro de
Corpa was decapitated and the head was then impaled.
However, the basis for the claim of decapitation is not
stated in these sources, and none of the seven Guale
questioned by Canzo mention a beheading (Lucas to
Canzo, Brooks, 1906; Francisco to Canzo, Brooks, 1906;
Bartolome to Canzo, Brooks, 1906). A final critical detail
is that the head of Pedro de Corpa must have been
moved or buried shortly following his death. When Governor Canzo and troops visited Tolomato after the rebellion there is no mention of their finding the remains of
de Corpa (a statue of St. Anthony was found and so
noted—see Geiger’s note in Oré, 1936). This is an important detail because human remains were located at other
missions and noted in the documentation (Barcia, 1723
[1951]; Lanning, 1935; Geiger, 1937; Omaechevarrı́a,
1955) which suggests that the head of Pedro de Corpa
was already buried one month after his killing or had
been moved to another location.
Little is also known about the way in which Veráscola
was killed. All accounts agree he was ambushed on
returning to the village of Asao and was killed shortly
after disembarking a boat. However, there are no de-
277
scriptive details as to the actual manner of death or
what happened to the body afterwards except that it
was never found (Barcia, 1723 [1951]; Oré, 1936). Escobedo’s account, which includes an instance of divine
intervention, is not consistent with any other source
(Escobedo in Covington and Falcones, 1963).
The nature of the expected trauma is also difficult to
ascertain from the historical sources. In particular, there
is considerable disagreement and lack of specificity about
the type of weapon used to kill the friars. For de Corpa,
Lanning (1935, p 84) describes use of a ‘‘club,’’ Barcia
(1723, p 181 [1951]) describes a ‘‘stone hatchet,’’ and the
Guale Indians Lucas, Francisco, and Bartolome all
describe ‘‘wooden weapons’’ (Brooks, 1906, p. 41, 43, 45).
For Veráscola, Oré (1936) indicates he was killed with
an axe, Barcia (1723 [1951]) records the use of cudgels
and axes, and Lanning (1935) indicates use of macanas
and tomahawks. The most specific and regional term
used by these authors is macana, which is possibly homologous to the ‘‘wooden weapons’’ described by the
Guale youths. A macana has never been found archaeologically or described in any historical text that we know
of (reviewed in Van Horne, 1993). Oré (1936), who had
spent much of his life in Peru, described the macana as
similar to an Incan champi which varied from a long
staff or halberd to a more mace-like form through time
(Cahill, nd). Given the date of Oré’s writing (early 17th
century), the reference is likely to the more mace-like
form of the weapon as seen in Guaman Poma de Ayala’s
figures.2 The Cañete fragment from the time of the de
Soto entrada (ca. 1539-1540) associated ‘‘machanas’’ with
wooden clubs (Lyon, 1991), perhaps similar to that found
at a Taı́no site in the Dominican Republic (Conrad et al.,
2001). Macana-like weapons also appear in Theodore
Debry’s copper plate engravings depicting events in northern Florida (see Fig. 1; also Lorant, 1946; Alexander,
1976).3 The weapon is not named but is described as a,
‘‘sharp-edged club made of ebony’’ (Lorant, 1946, p 99).
Unfortunately, it now appears as if the Debry etchings are
inaccurate, and the clubs depicted, in particular, are
actually used as evidence linking the etchings to South
American tribes, not the Florida Timucua (McPhail, 1975;
Milanich, 2005). Suggestions that a sharp force injury
would have occurred from a macana blow (Johnson, 1923;
Reynolds, 1888) are based on descriptions from Torquemada whose time in Mexico evoked images of something
similar to an Aztec macahuitl. This is not supported by
any other sources and thus there is little reason to
expect sharp force trauma.
The Fort King George ‘‘skull’’
The Fort King George ‘‘skull’’ was reportedly located
during archaeological excavations along the far southwestern portion of the lower Darien bluff by Sheila Caldwell (1952, 1953, 1954, nda, ndb). How exactly, and by
whom, the partial cranium came to be associated with
Pedro de Corpa is unknown and there is only one formal
museum accession record that establishes the attribution
(see Thomas, 1993). A figure in Wyse (1985) shows the
skull on display at the Fort King George Museum, and
this publication and Thomas (1993) are the only formal
publications that mention the association with Pedro de
Corpa. Wyse was the former Vice Postulator for The
Cause, although he is not responsible for the identification. That Caldwell (1952, 1953, 1954, 1970, nda, ndb)
fails to mention the calvaria is curious to say the least,
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
278
C.M. STOJANOWSKI AND W.N. DUNCAN
Fig. 1. Debry’s engraving purportedly showing the Timucua
Indians of northern Florida in the company of Frenchman. The
engraving is entitled, ‘‘How Sentinels are Punished for Sleeping
at Their Posts’’ and shows a large club used to bludgeon the cranium.
and field notes and specimen logs (Caldwell, 1952b, nda)
describe it as only a ‘‘human skull.’’ As detailed later,
the state of preservation of the specimen does fit the
story of Pedro de Corpa’s murder, and we assume that
the individual that made this attribution thought the
Spanish mission and Guale village located at the Fort
King George site was Tolomato, served by mission Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, where Pedro de Corpa was
killed. Caldwell herself never attributed the Spanish period dwellings she uncovered to Tolomato, but rather correctly identified the mission as Talaje (Caldwell, 1970,
ndb), or as ‘‘Espogache, a visitas (sic) to the main mission at Talasche’’ (Caldwell, ndc, p 15). This opinion is
supported by other ethnohistorians (Lanning, 1935;
Jones, 1978; Worth, 2004). Nonetheless, the Tolomato
association appears in Wyse (1985) and Steinen (1985),
with unstated sources. Regardless of the disagreement
about mission association, however, a Spanish missionary was killed in the area of Fort King George and the
body was never recovered: Asao/Talaje suggests Veráscola while Tolomato suggests Corpa, assuming the
remains of the dead friars were not moved. That de
Corpa was the first killed and Veráscola the last (see
dates in Lanning, 1935), it is not impossible for the former’s remains to have been carried and deposited at the
site of the latter’s killing.
Physical description
FKG-121 is a calvaria (singular, plural calvariae); that
is, a cranium without the face. No mandible, dentition,
or postcranial remains are associated with the specimen
(see Fig. 2). Although fragmentary it is well-preserved,
and both cortical and trabecular tissues are well-consolidated despite exfoliation due to the sloughing of a preservative or consolidant agent. Soil matrix associated
with root adhesions stains the endocranial surface on
the left side and is found within several exterior fossae
and foramina. Roots are also visible in several locations
on the endocranial surface. Both soil staining and root
attachments belie the fact that the calvaria was buried
at some point in its history. Importantly, there were no
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Fig. 2. Right lateral view of the Fort King George
calvaria.
rust stains on FKG-121 which suggests the individual
was not buried in a coffin. Rust stains were observed on
most of the English period soldier burials recovered from
the site (Caldwell, 1943; Baker, 1970). A majority
(70%) of the vault exhibits postmortem exfoliation of
the exterior cortical surface likely due to sloughing of a
consolidant applied to the specimen sometime in the
past. The removal of cortical bone and subsequent exposure of underlying bone gives the specimen the appearance of being sun bleached. Variance in bone staining
under close examination suggests the exterior color is
considerably lighter than it was upon recovery, which
reflects its long-term use as an educational prop and museum display at the Fort King George museum (see
Wyse, 1985). There are several postmortem cracks on
the ectocranial surface that likely represent the effects
of weathering and contraction and shrinkage of the specimen. These are most prevalent along the sagittal
suture.
A series of breaks was observed along the inferior portion of the left and right nasals, the frontal bone, the
sphenoid, left and right temporals, and basilar portion of
the occipital bone. The bilateral breakage of the frontal
bone in conjunction with the retention of the nasal bones
is unusual because in many cases where a cranium has
been reduced to calvaria the fragile nasal bones are frequently lost as well. This raises the possibility that the
fracture pattern of the facial skeleton resulted from
blunt force trauma directed to the anterior portion of the
skull such as a Lefort III fracture (Rowe and Killey,
1968), an interpretation hindered by the fact that the
fractures on the frontal bone near the frontomalar
suture have rounded edges and on the right side are
clearly of a lighter color than the surrounding bone, indicating influence of postmortem processes (see Fig. 3).
That is, definitive evidence of perimortem trauma with
respect to wound analysis (Ubelaker and Adams, 1995;
Ta’ala et al., 2006) is likely compromised by taphonomic
alteration to the exposed edges. Although in no way
diagnostic, the observed fracture pattern may be consistent with death via blunt force trauma, as described for
both men. Certainly a complete skull would be inconsis-
FORENSIC ANALYSIS OF PEDRO DE CORPA
279
Fig. 3. Closeup of the left orbit of FKG-121 showing differences in color due to postexcavation damage.
Fig. 4. Basilar view of the Fort King George calvaria.
tent with death via blunt force trauma using a club-like
object lacking a piercing or cutting edge.
The damage to the basilar portion of the vault, including the sphenoid, the petrous portion of the temporals,
and the basilar portion of the occipital (see Fig. 4), is
similarly nonspecific as to cause but is consistent with
the sequella of decapitation and subsequent impalement
as described for Pedro de Corpa. The fractured areas
themselves are the same color as the surrounding bone,
which suggests they are not the result of recent postdepositional breakage and they must have occurred before
or during the period in which the specimen was still buried in the ground. Although it is common for a cranium
to be missing portions of the base, there are no experimental studies designed to identify the effects of impalement on the human cranial base. Previous research on
decapitation has focused on cutmarks, located either on
the occipital bone or mandible, or more commonly on
associated cervical vertebrae (Buikstra and Gordon,
1980; Buikstra et al., 1984; Bush and Stirland, 1991;
Anderson, 2001; Ardagna et al., 2005). We note that
there are no cutmarks on the base of the calvaria; however, this does not exclude the possibility that FKG-121
was decapitated in any way because it is possible to separate the head from the body and not damage the vault
(Duncan, 2005). We also note the lack of cutmarks on
the frontal bone, as might be expected if the individual
was scalped.4
It is reasonably certain that the specimen belonged to
an adult male. Morphognostic data (Tables 1 and 2) are
well within the male range of variability, with likelihood
ratios of 1.78–1.83 based on the method of Steadman
et al. (2006) and sex assessment data published in
Ramsthaler et al. (2007) and Novotný et al. (1993). Cranial suture closure scores (Table 3) provide little basis
for exclusion due to their poor correlation with age and
wide standard errors. Transition analysis (see Boldsen
et al., 2002) using the ‘‘White male’’ hazard model for
archaeological populations produces a maximum likelihood estimate of 44.34 years with a 95% confidence
interval of 22.30 to 89.21 years. When the forensic hazard model is used the age estimate adjusts downward
with a maximum likelihood estimate of 35.44 years with
a 95% confidence interval ranging from 20.62 to 64.72
years.5 In 1597, Pedro de Corpa and Francisco de Veráscola were 37 and 33 years of age, respectively (Harkins,
nd). The only pathological condition of note was
unilateral partial coronal synostosis, unilateral partial
squamosal synostosis, and unilateral complete sphenofrontal synostosis, all affecting the left side (Duncan and
Stojanowski, 2008). This raises the question of how the
pathology might influence craniometric analysis. As the
skull grows as a morphological unit, premature cessation
of growth in one point will influence other dimensions of
the skull (Duncan and Stojanowski, 2008 for a fuller discussion of morphological influence). However, it was
probably subclinical in life and thus whatever effect the
plagiocephaly might have on the craniometry is presumed to be minimal.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Human occupation at the Fort King George site
To implement the approach advocated by Brues (1992)
the list of potential source populations was reconstructed
based on archaeological and historical data. Both Pedro
de Corpa and Francisco de Veráscola were Iberian;
Veráscola was Basque (Oré, 1936) whose craniofacial
profiles are distinct from those of other populations on
the Iberian peninsula (Garralda and Mesa, 1986; de la
Rua, 1992; Lalueza Fox and Martı́n, 1995). Other Spaniards were also present in the region from the mid-16th
through mid-18th centuries which highlights one obvious
difficulty with identification: even if undisputedly Iberian this itself is not confirmation of a positive identification. However, beyond the Spanish presence, the range
of possible affiliations for the calvaria is extensive,
encompassing three continents.
Unfortunately, despite numerous archaeological investigations of various parts of the lower Darien bluff where
Fort King George was located (Caldwell, 1943; Caldwell,
1952, 1953, 1954, 1970; Kelso, 1968; Baker, 1970; Watkins, 1970; Johnson, 1983; Steinen, 1985), changes to the
landscape caused by 19th century sawmilling operations
and the infilling of various portions of the surrounding
swamps has complicated the stratigraphy of the area. As
testament to this, the remains of the actual Fort King
George, the site’s namesake, have never been located. The
earliest Native American presence on the bluffs dates to
about 3000–4000 years ago as represented by fiber-tempered pottery and reported cremated human remains
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
280
C.M. STOJANOWSKI AND W.N. DUNCAN
TABLE 1. Scores for sex diagnostic features following
Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994)
Feature
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
Mastoid Process
Glabella
Supraorbital Margin
Nuchal Crest
Mental Eminence
Left
TABLE 3. Cranial suture scores for FKG-121
Right
Sutures
5
Coronal
Bregmatica
Complicata
Pterica
Bregma
Sagittal
Bregmatica
Vertis
Obelica
Lambdica
Lambda
Lambdoid
Lambdica
Media
Asterica
Occipital-mastoid
Superior
Media
Inferior
Squamous
Posterior
Anterior
Pterion
Sphenofrontal
Sphenotemporal
Inferior
Superior
Interpalatine
Zygomaticomaxillary
4
3–4
3–4
3–4
4
n/a
1, female; 2, probable female; 3, ambiguous; 4, probable male; 5,
male.
TABLE 2. Scores for sex diagnostic features following
Ferembach et al. (1980)
Feature (Weight)
1) Glabella (3)
2) Mastoid (3)
3) Nuchal development (3)
4) Zygomatic process (3)
5) Superciliary arch (2)
6) Frontal/Parietal boss (2)
7) External Occ. Protuber (2)
8) Zygomatic bone (2)
9) Forehead profile (1)
10) Orbit shape (1)
Left
12
Right
12
11
0
n/a
11
n/a
11
0
0
n/a
n/a
11
n/a
n/a
22, female; 21, probable female; 0, ambiguous; 1, probable
male; 2, male.
(Caldwell, 1943, 1952; Kelso, 1968). Subsequently, two
periods of Guale-Spanish occupation are found at the site,
the first dating from around the time of the Georgia Martyrs (ca. 1597–1625) and the second representing a 17th
century mission also located there (Caldwell, 1953, 1954;
Johnson, 1983; Lewis, 1953). It is likely that a precontact
Guale population also lived there, as it was common for
missions to be established within existing native villages.
No cemetery was located during these excavations (Caldwell, ndb); however, which is surprising is the presence of
a mission church in which burials were typically interred.
The area was abandoned in 1661 when the Guale
retreated south in the wake of English encroachment,
Westo slave raids, and assaults on the Georgia coast by
pirates (Worth, 1995, 1996). There was little presence for
several decades (Ivers, 1996) and John Barnwell indicated
that the area was overgrown with brush when he visited
it during the early 18th century (Barnwell, 1926).
In the summer of 1715, Yamassee Indians camped
along the bluff in the aftermath of the Yamassee War
(Lewis, 1967; Kelso, 1968). In 1721, John Barnwell
constructed Fort King George which was in service until
1727 and which housed several hundred English soldiers
described as a, ‘‘motley crew of scoutmen from South
Carolina, Highland servants from Fort Moore ..., recruits
from the out settlements, and forty exchanged prisoners
from the Havannah (Lewis, 1967, p 24).’’ A company of
Swiss deserter’s from French Louisiana also made an
appearance at the fort (Cook, 1990) and Barnwell’s journal indicates the presence of African slaves (1926) which
were brought to North America during the earliest colonization efforts by the Spanish (Geiger, 1937; see also
Cook, 1990 and Lewis, 2002 on the illegality of slave
ownership in Georgia during the 18th century).
Although the fort was only in service for 6 years, the
harsh living conditions, economic hardship, and the aged
and infirmed composition of the barracks resulted in
more than 140 deaths. Fourteen graves were identified
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
B/Ua
#
Endocran
Ectocran
ANb
BUc
ANb
BUc
2/4
2/4
2/4
4
2/3
2/3
2/3
3
*/0
*/1
*/1
1
*/1
*/1
*/1
1
4
4
4
4
2
3
3
3
3
2
1
2
3
2
0
1
2
2
2
0
3/1
1/3
0/0
3/1
1/2
0/0
0/0
1/1
0/0
0/0
1/1
0/0
0/0
0/0
0/0
0/0
0/0
0/0
0/0
0/0
0/0
0/0
0/0
0/0
7
8
1/0
1/0
*/4
*/4
1/0
1/0
*/3
*/3
*/0
2/0
*/2
*/2
*/1
1/2
*/2
*/2
9
10
1/1
0/0
1/1
0/0
1/1
0/0
1/1
0/0
6
5
4
3
2
1
BOd
*/5
2/4
2/2
2/3
2/2
* Premature fusion due to craniosynostosis.
a
Corresponding number in Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994) as
used in the Meindl and Lovejoy (1985) approach.
b
Five point scale used by Acsádi and Nemeskéri (1970) and
Perizonius (1984).
c
Four point scale used by Meindl and Lovejoy (1985) and Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994).
d
Five point scale used by Boldsen et al. (2002).
and excavated during the 1940s, all associated with the
English occupation (Caldwell, 1943; Hulse, nd). These
skeletons were reburied after analysis by Hulse (nd).6
After the fort burned in 1727, two soldiers remained as
sentries until 1734 (Lewis, 1967). The area was reoccupied in 1736, under direction from John Oglethorpe, by
177 Scottish Highlanders and several hundred indentured servants who founded New Inverness, later modern-day Darien. Although initially residing on or near
the old fort, the town subsequently withdrew to its present location. There is no indication they established a
cemetery there as they knew of the presence of the British graves. John McIntosh, one of the original Highlanders, settled somewhere along the bluff in the 1740s
(Lewis, 2002). Interestingly, the Scots were fervently abolitionist and owned no slaves (Lewis, 2002) so it seems
unlikely that an 18th century African American is represented by the specimen. Creek Indians were also present
in the area throughout the 18th century (see Bartram,
1791 [1988]), although it is unlikely they lived anywhere
near the abandoned fort site.
During the 19th century, the town of Darien experienced an influx of immigrants from Ireland, Scotland,
England, the Carolinas, and even families from New
England, and it is at this point that the biological profile
of the inhabitants becomes unmanageable. Interestingly,
only 63 ‘‘free persons of color’’ were living in Darien in
281
FORENSIC ANALYSIS OF PEDRO DE CORPA
1819 (Lewis, 2002, p 46). At the site of Fort King George
itself, a tabby house was constructed in the early 1800s
(Caldwell, 1970; Cook, 1990; Joseph et al., 2004). The
later history of the site is dominated by sawmilling operations, beginning in 1820 with the Eastern Saw Mill
Company (Lewis, 2002) who maintained a presence until
the Civil War. The saw mills were such a large operation
that a small village arose at the site. During the Civil
War, the bluffs were used as part of the Confederate
defense of Darien (Johnson, 1983; Steinen, 1985).
Although the town and the mills were destroyed by a
company of African American soldiers from South Carolina during Sherman’s March, milling operations
returned to the bluffs after the war ended. In 1878, the
Hilton and Timber and Lumber Company established
milling operations which were in service until about
1925 when the area was abandoned once again (Kelso,
1968). There are no indications of any burials associated
with the 19th century activities at the site.
Comparative samples
Constructing a regionally defined comparative database avoids typological race-based assessments but introduces its own limitations. Raw data must be published
and the list of variables included in published reports is
often limited, particularly given the state of preservation
of FKG-121 which preserved only the brain case. The
chord and arc measurements of the vault (frontal, parietal, occipital chords, for example) and breadth measurements near the base of the skull (biauricular, biasterion,
bimastoid) are not as frequently reported as maximum
length, breadth, and minimum frontal breadth. And as
the number of usable variables decreases, so does the
discriminatory power of the analysis. In addition, somewhat arbitrary temporal and spatial/regional divisions
must be made. As the specificity of the comparative samples increases, the sample size decreases, which affects
the estimates of variability and resulting typicality probabilities of group membership. Finally, in some cases it
was not possible to locate temporally appropriate data
and the nearest proxy was used. Because the samples
included in this analysis were only roughly dated using
indirect means, broad temporal divisions are defined to
the nearest century.
The list of samples is presented in Table 4 and
includes: late precontact and mission period Guale, 19th
century Scottish from various contexts in Scotland, 14–
16th century, 17th, and 18th century English crania,
17th, 18th, and 19th century colonial Euro-American
data obtained primarily from the J. Lawrence Angel Archives at the Smithsonian Institution, 18th and 19th
century African American data also from the Angel Archives and supplemented with published data from the
eastern US, 19th century West African data from numerous countries and tribal groups, 17th–19th century Basques, and a small sample of colonial period Spanish crania. The last of these is the most crucial but also the
most difficult to locate in raw form, notwithstanding an
extensive bibliography of published means from Medieval period Spanish samples (e.g., Benavides, 2004). Less
than a dozen Spanish individuals were identified in the
literature, and these were combined with the Basque
data to form an Iberian sample. In total, more than
5,000 individuals were included in this database. However, because FKG-121 was clearly male, those individuals for whom the estimated sex was female or unknown
were removed from the analysis. Crania with intentional
modification, individuals less than 18 years of age, significantly pathological crania, and fragmentary individuals with excessive missing data were also removed from
the database. Sample sizes by group are presented in Table 4. The total sample size was 1,899; however, missing
data precluded use of certain cases.
METHODS
There is no optimal strategy for dealing with incomplete datasets. Imputation was not deemed appropriate,
thus the multivariate discriminant analysis must deal
with missing data. In such circumstances, increasing the
number of variables generally improves the discriminatory power of the model but greatly reduces sample
sizes and within-group estimates of variability. Using
fewer variables with denser representation increases
sample sizes (sometimes significantly) but the model
may lack sufficient discriminatory power, thereby
limiting analyses in their inferential utility. At the same
time, more liberal definitions of the ‘‘population at large’’
will invite criticisms of typology and essentialism, while
using a more restricted definition of comparative populations will produce uneven and in some cases extremely
small within-group sample sizes. Similarly, using the
site as a unit of comparative analysis reifies the archaeological record, or even a published report, as a biological
population. Thus, recognizing the necessity to create categories at some level of analysis, multiple approaches for
craniometric assessment were used here.
In light of the limitations imposed by the data base,
we used a two-step procedure for three different iterations of variable inclusion. The two-step process entails
first dividing individuals into major continental groupings (North America, Europe, Africa). Although this
approach superficially seems typological, the use of question-appropriate comparative samples to populate these
geographical groupings is a departure from past practices. After a broad geographical region is identified
through discriminant function analysis, the samples
used to construct that aggregate sample are divided and
the allocation process is repeated to provide a best estimate of the specific population to which FKG-121 is
likely to have belonged. The procedure, therefore, moves
from general to specific populations. This two-step process was repeated three different times using different
combinations of variables. The first uses only three variables (GOL, XCB, WFB) which are the most widely
recorded and therefore inclusive of the maximum number of individuals. Sample size is maximized while discriminatory power is likely diminished. The second analysis uses five variables with the largest sample sizes
(GOL, XCB, WFB, FARC, and ASB) thus maximizing the
representation of a diverse array of individuals and populations while theoretically providing greater discriminatory power among groups. Finally, the third analysis
uses all variables recorded for FKG-121 that were
also frequently reported in the literature in raw form.
These include GOL, XCB, WFB, FRC, PAC, OCC, FARC,
ASB, and AUB. Although this iteration should
maximize group discrimination, the sample sizes are
very limited.
Linear discriminant function analysis was performed
using SPSS version 16 available on the CITRIX software
platform at Arizona State University. FKG-121 was not
included in any of the training sample analyses to avoid
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
282
C.M. STOJANOWSKI AND W.N. DUNCAN
TABLE 4. Comparative samples used for craniometric analysis
Population
Late Precontact Guale, n 5 49
17th Century Guale, n 5 37
19th Century Scottish, n 5 125
14th–16th Century English,
n 5 309
Provenience
Irene Md, Townsend Md, Norman Md,
Kent Md, 7 Mile Bend, Little Pine
Island
Santa Catalina de Guale, Pine Harbor,
Santa Catalina de Guale de Santa Marı́a
multiple
Carmelite Friary, Maiden Castle, Rothwell,
East Shefford, Saint Leonard’s Church,
Castle Hill, St Benet Friary
17th Century English, n 5 294
18th Century English, n 5 370
Colonial Spanish American,
n 5 10
Colonial Basque, n 5 70
Farringdon, Whitechapel, Moorfields
Spitalfields
Lima, San Francisco Church,
Hospital San Juan
Guipúzcoa, Zaraus, Urtiaga
17th Century Euro-Am, n 5 19
Carter’s Grove, Flowerdew Hundred,
Gloucester Point, Martins Hundred,
Shenandoah, Patuxent Point, PG3
Gloucester Point, Norfolk, Rae Burial
Ground, St Anne’s Church, Stratford,
Moran Gallery, Fort King George
Marieta Md, Bel Air, Spotsylvania
Battlefield, Wilderness Battlefield, St.
Marks, Green Hill, Portsmouth, West
Point, Swansboro, Taylor’s Island,
Tracy’s Landing
Catoctin Furnace, College Landing, Deep
River, First African Baptist Church,
Burke Lake, Severn River, Biloxi,
Jaketown, Hattiesburg, Tarboro,
Pokomoke, Rosegill, Stratford
Bel Air, Oakland Cemetery, First African
Baptist Church, Governor’s Bridge,
Cunningham Md D; DC unmarked,
Cedar Grove plus numerous isolated
Cameroon, Congo, French Guinea, Gabon,
Liberia, Numerous tribal groups from
Nigeria, Senegal, Togo
18th Century Euro-Am n 5 35
19th Century Euro-Am, N 5 23
18th Century African-Am, N 5 37
19th Century African-Am, n 5 66
19th Century West African, n 5 455
biasing the allocation. Allocation success rates are based
on the jacknife procedure with equal prior probabilities.
Mahalanobis distances, posterior probabilities and typicality probabilities are reported for FKG-121 for each
stage of analysis.
RESULTS
Three variable, maximum sample size analyses
Measurements for FKG-121 and descriptive statistics
for the complete comparative database are presented in
Table 5. To first determine the likely continental origin of
FKG-121 with respect to the migration history of the
southeastern United States, three measurements with
the largest sample sizes were compared to the complete
database (GOL, XCB, WFB). Results of linear discriminant analysis included 1,421 of 1,899 individuals. All variables were significantly different among groups via
Wilks’ Lambda criterion and the determinants of the
within-group covariance matrices were approximately
equal. Jacknife cross-validation produced an allocation
success rate of 58%, with 67% of African individuals correctly allocated (181 of 270), 54% of European individuals
correctly allocated (573 of 1,065), and 78% of Native
Guale correctly allocated (67 of 86). A majority of misclasAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
References
Authors
Authors
Garson, 1884; Reid, 1926; Turner, 1901
Beddoe, 1907; Duckworth and Pocock,
1909; Goodman and Morant, 1940;
Little, 1943; Parsons, 1910; Peake and
Hooton, 1915; Stoessiger and Morant,
1932
Hooke, 1926; MacDonnell, 1904, 1906
Morant and Hoadley, 1931
McGee, 1894; Ubelaker and Ripley, 1999;
Ubelaker and Rousseau, 1993
Aranzadi, 1914; Morant, 1929; Riquet,
1962
Angel Archives, King and Ubelaker,
1996; Ubelaker, nd
Angel Archives, Carter et al., 2004;
Hulse, nd
Angel Archives, Dailey et al., 1972
Angel Archives
Angel Archives, Beck, 1980; Mann and
Krakker, 1989; Rose, 1985; Thomas
et al., 1977
Benington and Pearson, 1912; Howells
Data Set; Keith, 1911; Malcolm, 1920;
Shrubsall, 1899; von Luschan Collection
sified African individuals were allocated to the European
sample, while misallocated European individuals were
equally divided among the African and Guale samples.
FKG-121 was assigned to the European sample (typicality
5 0.506, posterior 5 0.702, distance 5 1.36) followed by
the Native American Guale sample (posterior 5 0.150,
distance 5 4.45). The canonical discriminant function plot
is presented in Figure 5 demonstrating the position of
FKG-121 with respect to the comparative database. The
lack of distinction among these samples is not surprising
given that only three variables are represented. Nonetheless, such concordance reflects the primary criticisms of
comparative craniometry by Armelagos and colleagues.
The lack of discriminatory power is further emphasized when the larger European sample is divided into
more specific groups, as detailed in Table 4 (n 5 1,065).
As with the previous analysis, the individual variables
were significantly different among groups and the covariance matrix determinants were approximately equal.
As might be expected, however, the three variables failed
to produce a meaningful allocation with only 24% of
cases correctly reallocated to their respective samples
(roughly twice random expectation). There was almost
no separation between the Iberian samples and those
from England, Scotland, or the New World. FKG-121
283
FORENSIC ANALYSIS OF PEDRO DE CORPA
TABLE 5. Descriptive statistics for comparative data and measurements for FKG-121
GOL
n
x
sd
FRC
n
x
sd
PAC
n
x
sd
OCC
n
x
sd
FARC
n
x
sd
XCB
n
x
sd
WFB
n
x
sd
AUB
n
x
sd
ASB
n
x
sd
FKG
AA18
AA19
AFR
B/S
EA17
EA18
EA19
SCOT
UK16
UK17
UK18
MISS
PCG
191
37
188
9.21
65
188
8.07
456
181
9.29
79
186
6.54
19
187
7.15
33
187
6.75
21
188
8.32
115
187
7.37
308
183
7.65
294
189
6.34
215
181
6.37
37
173
9.40
49
175
7.62
122
37
113
6.29
45
111
6.40
136
109
5.51
32
111
4.29
15
113
6.30
15
112
7.79
16
114
5.39
–
–
–
158
128
6.50
127
114
4.75
205
124
10.04
34
110
6.47
38
113
5.40
124
37
117
7.10
43
117
6.48
136
112
7.09
32
113
7.34
15
113
9.03
16
112
7.27
22
117
8.34
–
–
–
157
124
7.82
127
115
6.19
208
124
10.04
36
109
8.87
41
104
6.08
93
37
96
6.68
42
98
7.61
251
96
5.60
32
98
5.05
14
97
6.41
13
98
6.91
20
101
6.80
2
99
2.12
158
117
7.82
155
98
5.46
198
116
10.25
32
96
5.29
26
99
7.27
136
37
128
7.56
43
126
7.95
209
125
10.58
49
129
7.11
7
131
5.09
13
130
6.32
16
128
7.26
110
131
6.53
164
114
6.71
161
129
6.57
198
111
11.10
35
124
7.93
44
126
6.71
143
37
137
7.39
63
139
5.42
458
138
8.06
79
144
6.44
17
138
5.32
33
143
6.11
22
140
7.91
115
143
4.71
308
144
6.24
294
142
5.84
215
144
5.39
37
147
5.83
49
145
6.46
91
37
96
5.66
52
99
6.55
181
99
6.59
79
97
4.36
16
95
3.64
30
96
4.09
23
95
3.92
115
97
4.37
277
99
4.71
288
98
4.41
215
98
4.53
37
95
4.32
49
94
5.27
115
37
120
6.85
39
121
6.07
136
113
10.11
36
126
4.53
12
121
4.34
12
122
6.01
11
121
3.47
11
125
3.08
9
116
7.09
–
–
–
–
–
–
36
137
5.17
32
135
7.81
108
35
106
5.62
37
109
7.13
136
103
6.37
75
114
5.25
5
109
4.84
11
111
6.86
20
112
5.70
108
111
5.34
116
112
10.38
–
–
–
141
110
9.43
37
113
5.63
42
113
6.22
FKG,FKG-121; AA18, 18th century African American; AA19, 19th century African American; AFR, West African; B/S, Basque1
Spanish; EA17, 17th century Euro-American; EA18, 18th century Euro-American; EA19, 19th century Euro-American; SCOT, Scottish; UK16, 14-16th century English; UK17, 17th century English; UK18, 18th century English; MISS, mission period Guale; PCG,
Precontact Guale; GOL, maximum cranial length; FRC, frontal chord; PAC, parietal chord; OCC, occipital chord; FARC, frontal arc;
XCB, maximum cranial breadth; WFB, minimum frontal breadth; AUB, biauricular breadth; ASB, biasterionic breadth.
was allocated to the 19th century Euro-American sample
(typicality 5 0.518, posterior 5 0.220, distance 5 2.27)
followed by the 18th century Euro-American sample
(posterior 5 0.211, distance 5 2.35).
Five variable, medium sample size analyses
Results of linear discriminant analysis using GOL,
XCB, WFB, FARC, and ASB included 508 of 1,899 individuals. All variables were significantly different among
groups via Wilks’ Lambda criterion and the determinants of the within-group covariance matrices were
approximately equal. Jacknife cross-validation produced
an allocation success rate of 62%, with 73% of African
individuals correctly allocated (79 of 108), 55% of European individuals correctly allocated (181 of 328), and
75% of Native Guale correctly allocated (54 of 72). Misallocated African individuals were predominantly placed
into the European grouping, while misallocated European individuals were equally misplaced into the African
and Guale groupings. FKG-121 was assigned to the European sample (typicality 5 0.892, posterior 5 0.620, dis-
tance 5 0.23) followed by the African sample (posterior
5 0.288, distance 5 1.76). The canonical discriminant
function plot is presented in Figure 6 demonstrating the
position of FKG-121 with respect to the comparative
database. As indicated by the typicality probability,
FKG-121 (dark gray diamond) is very close to the mean
of the European sample (light gray square). When the
European sample is further divided as earlier, the overall classification rate was 35%, an improvement over
the three variable analyses, but still well below satisfactory. FKG-121 was assigned to the 17th century EuroAmerican sample (typicality 5 0.593, posterior 5 0.541,
distance 5 4.62) followed by the 18th century EuroAmerican sample (posterior 5 0.20, distance 5 6.60).
Complete variable, minimum sample
size analyses
The final set of analyses use the complete battery of
observable measurements. Results of linear discriminant
analysis using GOL, XCB, WFB, FRC, PAC, OCC, FARC,
AUB, and ASB included only 179 of 1,899 individuals. All
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
284
C.M. STOJANOWSKI AND W.N. DUNCAN
Fig. 5. Bivariate canonical discriminant function plot based
on GOL, XCB, WFB. Black circles 5 Guale, gray triangles 5
African-American and West African, and white circles 5 Iberian, Scottish, Colonial American, and English samples. The
centroid for each grouping is represented by a black square
with FKG-121 represented by the large black diamond.
variables, with the exception of OCC (P 5 0.103), were significantly different among groups via Wilks’ Lambda criterion and the determinants of the within-group covariance
matrices were approximately equal. Jacknife cross-validation produced an allocation success rate of 75%, the highest
of any analysis presented. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of
African individuals were correctly allocated (71 of 106),
67% of European individuals were correctly allocated (16
of 24), and 96% of Native Guale were correctly allocated
(47 of 49). Almost all of the incorrectly allocated cases
involved European and African individuals. As indicated
in Figure 7, the discriminant model clearly differentiates
African and European individuals from Native American
individuals. FKG-121 was assigned to the European sample (typicality 5 0.440, posterior 5 0.773, distance 5 1.64)
followed by the African sample (posterior 5 0.227, distance
5 4.09). When the European sample is further divided as
earlier, the overall classification rate was 20% (n 5 24)
with FKG-121 assigned to the 17th century Euro-American sample (typicality 5 0.287, posterior 5 0.971, distance
5 2.50) followed by the 18th century Euro-American sample (posterior 5 0.20, distance 5 10.29).
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
This article presents an initial investigation of the
purported identity of the Fort King George ‘‘skull’’ as
one of the Georgia Martyrs. From the outset, we recognized that positive identification in the absence of living
relatives or more individuating historical details about
the lives and deaths of the Georgia Martyrs was difficult. Nonetheless, because the issue of patrimony does
rest in the calvaria’s potential identification, physical
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Fig. 6. Bivariate canonical discriminant function plot based
on GOL, XCB, WFB, FARC, and ASB. White circles 5 Guale,
gray triangles 5 African-American and West African, and black
circles 5 Iberian, Scottish, Colonial American, and English samples. The centroid for each grouping is represented by a light
gray square with FKG-121 represented by the large dark gray
diamond.
anthropology can provide some basis for exclusion. On
initial examination, the specimen presents morphological and taphonomic signatures that are consistent with
the story of the Georgia Martyrs. The calvaria demonstrates male morphology and, based on other studies of
European populations using the Ferembach et al. (1980)
system, the likelihood of observing these cranial morphological characteristics in a male is almost twice that
of observing the same features in a female. The individual was also clearly an adult at the time of death. Estimates of age based on cranial suture closure are
extremely broad and of little utility for exclusionary purposes. Although we did not calculate likelihood ratios,
the low likelihood ratio Steadman et al. (2006) reported
using pubic symphyses probably sets a maximum expectation for age assessment using cranial suture closure.
It is well known that cranial sutures are only general
indicators of age-at-death. The state of preservation of
the specimen also leaves open the possibility of blunt
force trauma to the face followed by cranial impalement.
Although we currently lack data on the expected effects
of impalement on the cranial base, it is also unlikely
this set of observations would produce a likelihood ratio
statistic with high exclusionary power. In fact, it is
more likely to have a cranium fragmented in this manner and not be the result of a Lefort fracture, decapitation and impalement. It is quite common to find
archaeological skulls in this condition (that is a calvaria
lacking a portion of the base). Nonetheless, that the
specimen was not complete precludes exclusion; the
presence of the splanchnocranium in the absence of
trauma to the vault would be entirely inconsistent with
the way in which the two Franciscans were killed.
FORENSIC ANALYSIS OF PEDRO DE CORPA
Fig. 7. Bivariate canonical discriminant function plot based
on GOL, XCB, WFB, FRC, PAC, OCC, FARC, AUB and ASB.
White circles 5 Guale, gray triangles 5 African-American and
West African, and black circles 5 Iberian, Scottish, Colonial
American, and English samples. The centroid for each grouping
is represented by a black square with FKG-121 represented by
the large dark gray diamond.
Finally, the primary purpose of this article was to present an analysis of population affinity based on craniometrics. Again, because of the degree of fragmentation
it was unlikely at the outset that an affiliation to a specific region of origin would be possible. Nonetheless, we
are confident that we have ruled out a Native American
Guale affinity, and to a lesser extent, an African affinity
for the calvaria. Repeated analyses using different measurement sets and definitions of the target populations
returned an allocation to Euro-American populations
with large typicality probabilities. That Iberian samples
were not targeted should not be interpreted as exclusionary evidence, however. The jackknifed classification
matrices indicated very little craniometric divergence
among the included European-derived comparative
samples.
At this point in the project, providing greater specificity beyond the fact that the individual appears to be of
European ancestry is not possible. Data on Spanish Medieval period males has been published, but primarily in
aggregate form. The data we did include here derives
from colonial church contexts in Ecuador where the
Spanish affiliation is also, in part, based on craniometry
(Ubelaker and Rousseau, 1993; Ubelaker and Ripley,
1999); and consequently, some circularity does exist.
Even the Basque data are too recent and may not be
representative of 16th century Basque populations.
When the measurement values for FKG-121 are compared with the mean vectors of these Spanish Medieval,
Basque, English, and Scottish samples it plots closest to
a Medieval Spanish monastery (Stojanowski and Duncan, in press). However, this purely phenetic approach
285
does not allow calculation of probabilities, it is only pattern recognition. Nonetheless, extrapolating from a European, adult male to Pedro de Corpa is tenuous, at best.
To this end, DNA extraction is ongoing. However, even a
successful sequencing will not provide definitive evidence
of positive identification in the absence of living relatives. There were other Spaniards in the area, although
the potential for Basque-specific genetic signatures may
be promising (e.g., Moral et al., 2000).
Isotopic analyses of diet and life course mobility patterns may also provide greater resolution to the calvaria’s identity. For example, Pedro de Corpa was in the
New World for 10 years before his death, Veráscola for
only 3 years. Therefore, we might expect de Corpa to
show distinct earlier and later life strontium and oxygen
signatures due to his migration to the New World, and
also distinct carbon and nitrogen signatures due to the
change in diet that accompanied emigration from Spain.
Although the Spanish imported foodstuffs into their New
World colonies, it is unlikely that the burgeoning economy of Spanish Florida or the mendicant nature of the
frontier Franciscans would have provided ready access
to these imports. Veráscola, on the other hand, would
not have experienced any bone turnover due to his
recent arrival in the New World. We note the recent publication by Jørkov et al. (2009) would implement these
isotopic life course analyses in the absence of associated
dentition.
However, the application of additional technology and
empirical methods may do little to ultimately resolve the
identification of this specimen. Most integral is further
confirmation of the archaeological context in which this
specimen was recovered. If a 16th century Spanish context is confirmed then this likely is one of the Georgia
Martyrs. To this end, analysis of soil properties from matrix recovered within the external auditory meatus is
also ongoing, and it is hoped these data can be matched
with previous coring activities at the site to determine
the stratigraphic context within which the calvaria was
recovered. AMS dating of the specimen may also provide
greater resolution. The strongest evidence against the
martyr hypothesis (that is falsificication) could result
from providing stronger positive evidence that the calvaria was someone else, and even this would be of interest
to local historians. In this case, historiography and
archival research may address one of the more interesting issues with this consultation: why anyone initially
thought the calvaria was Pedro de Corpa.
The larger significance of this case study for physical
anthropologists is the unique importance of historiography in historical forensic contexts. Careful consideration
of multiple lines of evidence regarding the lives and
deaths of potential candidates allows osteologists working in historical settings to construct appropriate profiles
that they may attempt to falsify. Such an approach will
become increasingly necessary as the statistical nature
of identification becomes more formal (Steadman et al.,
2006) and requires careful definition of the population at
large for defining a priori probabilities and expectations.
Here, historical data were most useful for predicting an
expected trauma profile based on accounts of the death
of the two friars, the treatment of their bodies after
death, and the weapons likely used to kill them which
should directly manifest in a wound analysis. Physical
anthropological forays into the world of historical analysis must be done cautiously, however, as few have the
proper training in historical critique and textual analysis
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
286
C.M. STOJANOWSKI AND W.N. DUNCAN
to understand potential motivations behind those recording the details useful for a forensic reconstruction (present authors included). Collaboration with historians and
ethnohistorians is, therefore, required.
In addition, this article demonstrates the potential of
using site occupation histories to orient comparative craniometric analysis in a non-typological manner. This
approach was advocated by Brues (1992) but is difficult
to implement for modern cases with medico-legal significance. By identifying specific populations that likely
inhabited the area, we were able to construct a more
appropriate comparative framework: Guale was substituted for the reified category of ‘‘Native American’’
because we had access to comparative Guale data and
knew the specific occupational history of the region.
Whether or not the Fort King George specimen is similar
to Chumash or Peruvian crania (included in the Howells
data set) is irrelevant to the specific hypothesis being
tested here. And such statements invite typological and
essentialist criticism. Likewise, use of English, Scottish,
and Basque data, rather than broadly conceived ‘‘European’’ samples, anchors our analysis within regional historical migration histories. This is important because it
highlights the potential to assess population affinity in a
way that avoids using the race concept as recently discussed by Goodman and Armelagos (1996) and Williams
and colleagues (2005). Although it is true, we ultimately
created continent-specific groupings we did so to implement multivariate analysis, increase sample sizes, provide a more accurate assessment of within-group variability, and improve typicality probabilities. It is possible
to judge this effort a success. Stojanowski and Duncan
(2008) compared FKG-121 to four samples within the
Forensic Data Bank using Fordisc 2.0 (European American, African American, Native American, and Hispanic
(Ousley and Jantz, 1996). Although this analysis also
produced a European American allocation (based on the
variables GOL, XCB, AUB, FRC, PAC, OCC, upper facial
breadth, and mastoid height) the typicality probability
was 0.072, not unsurprising given the modern composition of that database. Comparison with the Howell’s data
set using Fordisc returned an allocation to the Egyptian
sample with a 0.106 typicality. In this article, the typicalities were as high as 0.892, suggesting the specific
population approach did increase the fit between target
and source populations. Although we did not address the
more serious concern with within-versus between-group
variability, the specific population approach represents a
step in the right direction. The former criticism of comparative craniometry is too nihilistic in eschewing the
allocation success rates for each specific comparative craniometric analysis. If the variables successfully discriminate between groups, and the groups selected are the
most appropriate for the specific hypothesis being tested,
then craniometric analysis in a forensic setting can provide useful information for concerned and descendant
communities, with repercussions well beyond the academy. Unfortunately, the success of the specific population
approach hinges on having comparative samples available, and this emphasizes the need to document craniometric data fully in all forensic and archaeological contexts given future potential for repatriation. A culture of
data sharing has not thus far become the normal course
in bioarchaeology and skeletal biology and we firmly
believe the field suffers because of this. In the wake of
NAGPRA, the need for comprehensive data collection
while skeletons are available combined with increasing
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
calls for public access publishing might ultimately serve
as the impetus for more promulgation of raw data sets
that could allow more analyses of this type.
Finally, this collaboration between physical anthropologists and the Franciscan Order highlights the strong
degree to which public groups are invested in achieving
closure on questions of population affinity and identity
through forensic anthropological techniques. Pedro de
Corpa and the rest of the ‘‘Georgia Martyrs’’ are currently being considered for canonization by the Catholic
Church and assessing the identity of the remains in
question is an important part of that cause. When contextualized within the historical literature and within an
exclusionary forensic framework, useful insights can be
offered.
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