287 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations, b/w maps, tables
From Bronze Age Thailand to Viking Iceland, from an Egyptian oasis to a family farm in Canada, The Bioarchaeology of Individuals invites readers to unearth the daily lives of people throughout history. Covering a span of more than four thousand years of human history and focusing on individuals who lived between 3200 BC and the nineteenth century, the essays in The Bioarchaeology of Individuals examine the lives of nomads, warriors, artisans, farmers, and healers.
The contributors employ a wide range of tools, including traditional macroscopic skeletal analysis, bone chemistry, ancient DNA, grave contexts, and local legends, sagas, and other historical information. The collection as a whole presents a series of osteobiographies – profiles of the lives of specific individuals whose remains were excavated from archaeological sites. The result offers a more "personal" approach to mortuary archaeology; this is a book about people – not just bones.
"Harnessing the concept of 'the power of one,' this book guides the reader into the past using carefully woven biographies rich in detail and scope."
– Anne L. Grauer, Loyola University, Chicago
"The populational approach to bioarchaeology tends to be monochrome in its efforts to answer broader research-oriented questions. This volume splashes the past with color through a select group of individuals who actually experienced it."
– Margaret A. Judd, University of Pittsburgh
"This very readable book presents detail on how the science employed in bioarchaeology allows information to be revealed about the lives and deaths of people of the past."
– Journal of Anthropological Research
"Demonstrates a new framework for exploring the tension between social structure and individual agency; dynamic and static; process and event; science, interpretation, and representation [...] succeeds in reconstructing personhood and intention using an osteobiographical approach."
– American Journal of Physical Anthropology
"Offers 'osteobiographies' that are vividly illustrated with descriptions of associated finds, new scientific data and broader contextual information."
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Ann L.W. Stodder is a research associate in anthropology at the Field Museum. Ann M. Palkovich is associate professor emerita of anthropology at George Mason University.