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The Archaeology of Human Bones
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The Archaeology of Human Bones (Paperback)
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Product Synopsis

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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Staff Choice

Uncovering human remains is one of the most exciting moments for many archaeologists. Simon Mays' book, a revised edition of his earlier work, offers up-to-date scientific explanations to interpret such skeletal evidence. All aspects of the subject are covered from the comparative anatomy of early and modern man and the biological composition of bone and teeth, to identifying and working with cremated bone. May also explores the connection between the dead and the living, arguing that an understanding of this relationship is essential for better interpretation of human remains.

Other chapters cover methods for determining age and sex, identifying diseases of bones and teeth, recognising trauma, and recovering and analysing DNA. The subject matter is presented in an easily accessible style, with references to accumulated research data retrieved from past excavations – such as at the Medieval village of Wharram Percy – and with a bibliography for further study.

This is both essential reading for students intending to pursue a career in osteoarchaeology, and a fascinating guide for anyone interested in understanding excavated human remains.

Reprinted with permission by www.archaeology.co.uk

Charing Cross Rd Bookshop - 22/02/2011

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