Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Anthropology (Forensic Anthropology Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Dr. Randall Skelton

Commitee Members

Dr. Meradeth Houston-Snow, Dr. Caitlin Martin-Wagar, Dr. James Tuttle


Skeletal, Trauma, Intimate, Domestic, Partner, Violence


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Biological and Physical Anthropology


Objectives: This is a validation study of Biddle (2019), where much of the same materials are used, with the addition of new data from other databases to include more Native American and minority samples. A comparison database will also be analyzed against this data, with known cases of live individuals assaulted and assessed by health officials, some in IPV situations. All data is analyzed to discover which fracture locations are most common in IPV situations and which ethnic, sex, and age groups are most affected. Most fractures analyzed are those of the maxillofacial area, concentrating on the Zygomaticomaxillary Complex (ZMC) and those of the maxillae. Other areas of the skeleton will also be assessed for comparison.

Materials & Methods: The three primary databases that were analyzed were (1) Forensic Databank, (2) Second Catholic Cemetery Excavation (3) New Mexico Decedent Images Database. All samples were deceased individuals, with the manner of death being homicide, and some specified being beaten by an assailant resulting in death by head and neck injuries or multiple injuries. There were 262 individuals overall that had skeletal trauma, with 171 of them having trauma to the face. For comparison, the data from the Arizona Trauma Registry from the Arizona Department of Health Services are mostly made up of live individuals coming into the ER with trauma, including reported IPV cases and specified accidental cases. All databases were transformed into a binary code dataset and were run in SPSS26 for the following tests: (1) Simple Frequency Tests, (2) Crosstabulation Tests (3) Chi-Squared Tests.

Conclusions: The most commonly seen fracture location in assault and IPV cases was the nasal bones. However, since the nasal bones are more familiar with other mechanisms of injury (such as from a motor vehicle or other accident), the examination of the malar and mid-face regions was more closely examined. The middle, right side of the face seemed to contain the most fractures, with the leading demographics for these fracture locations being younger (25-34 years old) Native American females (Arizona Trauma Registry Data). The frequencies for the most common fracture locations were similar to Biddle’s study, while the demographic frequencies differed.



© Copyright 2022 Haley K. Omeasoo