Analysis of Archaeological Mortality Data

A collection of functions for the analysis of archaeological mortality data (on the topic see e.g. Chamberlain 2006 <>). It takes demographic data in different formats and displays the result in a standard life table as well as plots the relevant indices (percentage of deaths, survivorship, probability of death, life expectancy, percentage of population).

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With mortAAR you can calculate a life table based on archaeological demographic data. You just need the number of people of a certain age, but you can also use single individual data. mortAAR allows to separate the data according to sex/location/epoch or any other grouping variable.

What is a life table [aka discrete time survival analysis]? According to Chamberlain it is a

To our knowledge as of writing, a simple to use and easily accessible tool to calculate and create archaeological life tables has been lacking. That is why we sat down and put mortAAR for R together. We hope it will be of use for archaeologists world-wide.

In our view, mortAAR shines in the following areas:

  • Ease and flexibility of input (different kinds of customization and grouping)
  • Sophisticated means of computation (exploding of age ranges, separation factor for average lived years)
  • Comprehensiveness of output (life tables for all groups specified, plots for the most important measures, relative population calculation)

For further information, please have a look at the Vignettes and the Manual.


mortAAR is available on CRAN and can be installed through install.packages("mortAAR"). You can use devtools to install the development version. To do so:

if(!require('devtools')) install.packages('devtools')


mortAAR is released under the GNU General Public Licence, version 3. Comments and feedback are welcome, as are code contributions.


mortAAR 1.0.1

  • rewriting of some of the basic code
  • defining of "class_functions.R"
  • dividing of "output_functions.R" into "analytical_functions.R" and "plot_functions.R"
  • fixing of some typos in the documentation and the output
  • fixing of a small but serious bug which caused a non-alignment of the curves with the x-axis in the plots

mortAAR 1.0.0

First release.

Reference manual

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1.0.1 by Nils Mueller-Scheessel, 7 months ago

Browse source code at

Authors: Nils Mueller-Scheessel [aut, cre, cph] , Martin Hinz [aut] , Clemens Schmid [aut] , Christoph Rinne [aut] , Daniel Knitter [aut] , Wolfgang Hamer [aut] , Dirk Seidensticker [aut] , Franziska Faupel [aut] , Carolin Tietze [aut] , Nicole Grunert [aut]

Documentation:   PDF Manual  

GPL-3 | file LICENSE license

Imports magrittr, Rdpack, reshape2, methods

Suggests testthat, knitr, rmarkdown, tidyr, dplyr, ggplot2, RCurl

See at CRAN