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Human Biologists in the Archives: Demography, Health, Nutrition and Genetics in Historical Populations

Series: Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology Volume: 35

Edited By: D Ann Herring and Alan C Swedlund

359 pages, 72 line diagrams 12 half-tones 38 tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Sep 2005 | #156141 | ISBN: 0521020115
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £50.99 $67/€58 approx
Hardback | Dec 2002 | #132128 | ISBN: 0521801044
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £124.00 $163/€141 approx

About this book

Many physical anthropologists study populations using data that come primarily from the historical record. For this volume's authors, the classic anthropological `field' is not the glamour of an exotic locale, but the sometimes tedium of the dusty back rooms of libraries, archives and museum collections. This book tells of the way in which archival data inform anthropological questions about human biology and health. The authors present a diverse array of human biological evidence from a variety of sources including the archaeological record, medical collections, church records, contemporary health and growth data and genetic information from the descendants of historical populations. The papers demonstrate how the analysis of historical documents expands the horizons of research in human biology, extends the longitudinal analysis of microevolutionary and social processes into the present and enhances our understanding of the human condition.

'I liked this book very much. In each chapter, I not only learned something new about a specific people, time, or disease, but also new ways of interpreting and using data that will prove helpful to me in future research situations.' Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies '... a pioneering effort which should be read by all human biologists ... All the contributions are first class - first class in content and first class in presentation. With a little effort they are also a pleasure to read. May this book have a long history.' Annals of Human Biology 'For population historians who would like to explore this interdisciplinary territory on the borders between history, the social sciences, medicine and human biology, this book provides an excellent introduction'. Local Population Studies


Foreword S. Silverman and M. A. Little; 1. Human biology in the archives A. Swedlund and D. A. Herring; 2. The use of archives in the study of microevolution: changing demography and epidemiology of Esxazu, Costa Rica L. Madrigal; 3. Anthropometric data and population history J. H. Relethford; 4. For everything there is a season: Chumash Indian births, marriages and deaths at the Alta California missions P. L. Walker and J. R. Johnson; 5. Children of the poor: infant mortality in the Erie County Almshouse during the mid-nineteenth century R. L. Higgins; 6. Worked to the bone: the biomechanical consequences of 'labour therapy' at a nineteenth century asylum S. Phillips; 7. Monitored growth: anthropometrics and health history records at a private New England middle school, 1935-1960 L. Leidy Sievert; 8. Scarlet Fever epidemics of the nineteenth century; a case of evolved pathogenic virulence? A. Swedlund and A. Donta; 9. The ecology of a health crisis: Gibraltar and the 1965 cholera epidemic L. A. Sawchuck and S. D. A. Burke; 10. War and population composition in Aland, Finland J. H. Mielke; 11. Infectious diseases in the historical archives: a modelling approach L. Sattenspiel; 12. Where were the women? A. Grauer; 13. Malnutrition among northern peoples of Canada in the 1940s: an ecological and economic disaster D. A. Herring, S. Abonyi and R. D. Hoppa; 14. Archival research in physical anthropology M. T. Smith; Index.

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D. Ann Herring is Associate Professor of Anthropology at McMaster University, Ontario. Alan C. Swedlund is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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