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When Science Sheds Light on History: Forensic Science and Anthropology
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When Science Sheds Light on History: Forensic Science and Anthropology (Paperback)

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Synopsis

Did Richard the Lionheart really die from just a crossbow wound, or was there foul play? Who are the two infant children buried in Tutankhamen's tomb? Could a skull found in a tax collector's attic be the long-lost head of Henri IV? In When Science Sheds Light on History, Philippe Charlier, the "Indiana Jones of the graveyards," travels the globe with his forensics team to unravel these and other historic mysteries. To get answers, Charlier looks for clues in medical records, death masks, fingerprints, and bloodstains. He even enlists the help of perfume experts to smell and identify embalming materials. He reconstructs the face of Robespierre and analyzes charred bones attributed to Joan of Arc. He identifies toxic levels of gold in the hair of Diane de Poitiers, mistress of Henri II, and mercury poisoning in the body of Agnes Sorel, the "most beautiful woman" in fifteenth-century France.Charlier also pieces together the stories of people whose names and lives have long been forgotten. He investigates Stone Age graves, medieval necropolises, and museum collections. Playing the role of both crime scene investigator and forensic anthropologist, Charlier diagnoses a mummy with malaria, an ancient Greek child with Down syndrome, and a stately Roman with encephalitis. He studies accounts of divine cures from antiquity. He determines the origins of preserved heads of the Jivaro and Maori people to help museums return them to their clans.Exploring how our ancestors lived and how they died, the forty cases in this book tackle some of history's most enduring questions and illustrate the power of science to reveal the secrets of the past.

Philippe Charlier, a researcher at Raymond Poincare University Hospital and researcher-teacher at Paris Descartes University, is a forensic medical examiner, anatomopathologist, and paleopathologist, specializing in the study of ancient human remains and mummies. He is the author of Zombies: An Anthropological Investigation of the Living Dead.

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