Bioarchaeology: The Contextual Analysis of Human Remains

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9780123695413: Bioarchaeology: The Contextual Analysis of Human Remains

The core subject matter of bioarchaeology is the lives of past peoples, interpreted anthropologically. Human remains, contextualized archaeologically and historically, form the unit of study. Integrative and frequently inter-disciplinary, bioarchaeology draws methods and theoretical perspectives from across the sciences and the humanities.
Bioarchaeology: The Contextual Study of Human Remains focuses upon North American bioarchaeology, as defined above, which contrasts with European approaches more firmly linked to the study of all organic archaeological residues. Although Buikstra coined this use of Bioarchaeology in the 1970s, the unique approaches of this field of inquiry have much deeper roots, primarly reflected in the history of American Anthropology. This book uses an historical approach to explore this history, to define the current status of the field, and to project the future of bioarchaeology. It is divided into three sections: 1) People and Places - Early Landmarks in Bioarchaeology; 2) Emerging Specialities; and 3) On to the 21st Century.

*Human life histories studied through integration of skeletal biology with archaeological and contextual approaches
*Draws from traditionally distinct sub-disciplines of anthropology
*Multi-disciplinary
*Includes historical, contemporary and future perspective
*Broad array of scholars/scholarship

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Review:

"Bioarchaeology is an important book for all bioarchaeologists and for many biological anthropologists and archaeologists. As the title indicates, the chapters provide the context for the origin, historical development, and present state of bioarchaeological studies. In the current revisionist climate it is imperative for scholars to understand the context in which earlier studies were conducted and the questions that were of interest to individual scholars in the past. Each of the 16 chapters is written with an historical approach, often with interesting quotations that provide a window into the scholarly climate of the day. A wealth of primary references is provided. All references appear at the end of the book, rather than at the end of each chapter...Overall, the book provides a firm foundation for the history of bioarchaeology and the context for more recent scholarship. It could be used as a text for courses on the history and developments of physical anthropology and bioarchaeology. It would also be a good supplemental text for courses on archaeological history, method, and theory. The chapters and introductory material provide students and professionals with an understanding of the diversity of approaches over time and in different countries with respect to the context in which human remains are studied and interpreted. Since most students, in my experience, tend not to see the relevance of the historical developments in a field, this book is particularly important because it presents that relevance in the context of current research and future directions."
Reviewed in the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF HUMAN BIOLOGY 19:735739 (2007)

About the Author:

Jane Buikstra heads the Center for Bioarchaeology at Arizona State University and is a member of the National Academy of Science. Her work in the Lower Illinois River Valley fostered the development of Bioarchaeology and she continues to be the leading scholar in this field.

Lane Beck is an Associate Curator of Bioarchaeology at the Arizona State Museum and Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. She has nearly 30 years of field and laboratory experience in Bioarchaeology. Her major interests involve Bioarchaeology, Ethnohistory, and Mortuary Analysis.

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Published by Academic Press (2006)
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