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June 09 , 2009

The Archaeology of Human Bones


The Archaeology of Human Bones provides an up to date account of the scientific analysis of human skeletal remains from archaeological sites. This completely revised edition reflects the latest developments in scientific techniques for studying human skeletons and the latest applications of those techniques in archaeology. In particular, the sections on ancient DNA and bone stable isotopes have been comprehensively updated, and two completely new chapters have been introduced, covering metric study of the postcranial skeleton and ethical dimensions of the study of human remains.

The Archaeology of Human Bones introduces students to the anatomy of bones and teeth, utilising a large number of images. It analyzes the biasing effects of decay and incomplete recovery on burial data from archaeological sites, and discusses what we may learn about burial rites from human remains. Subsequent chapters focus on demographic analysis of earlier populations, normal skeletal variation, disease and injury, isotopic and DNA analysis of bone, the study of cremated bone and ethical aspects of working with ancient human remains. Current scientific methods are explained, alongside a critical discussion of their strengths and weaknesses. The ways in which scientific analyses of human skeletal remains can contribute to tackling major archaeological or historical issues is illustrated by means of examples drawn from studies from around the world.

Technical jargon is kept to a minimum, and each chapter contains a summary of the main points that a student should grasp and a list of further reading targeted to enable students to follow up major issues covered in the book. Featuring case studies from around the world and with copious illustrations, The Archaeology of Human Bones continues to be a crucial work for students of archaeology.

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