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Academic & Professional Books  Natural History  Archaeology

The Bioarchaeology of Dissection and Autopsy in the United States

By: Kenneth C Nystrom(Editor), Debra L Martin(Foreword By), Michael Sappol(Foreword By)
346 pages, 66 colour & 33 b/w photos and illustrations, tables
Publisher: Springer Nature
The Bioarchaeology of Dissection and Autopsy in the United States
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  • The Bioarchaeology of Dissection and Autopsy in the United States ISBN: 9783319800233 Paperback Jun 2018 Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
  • The Bioarchaeology of Dissection and Autopsy in the United States ISBN: 9783319268347 Hardback Aug 2016 Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
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About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Encountering evidence of postmortem examinations – dissection or autopsy in historic skeletal collections is relatively rare, but recently there has been an increase in the number of reported instances. And much of what has been evaluated has been largely descriptive and historical. The Bioarchaeology of Dissection and Autopsy brings together in a single volume the skeletal evidence of postmortem examination in the United States. Ranging from the early colonial period to the early 1900's, from a coffeehouse at Colonial Williamsburg to a Quaker burial vault in lower Manhattan, the contributions to The Bioarchaeology of Dissection and Autopsy in the United States demonstrate the interpretive significance of a historically and theoretically contextualized bioarchaeology. The authors employ a wide range of perspectives, demonstrating how bioarchaeological evidence can be used to address a wide range of themes including social identity and marginalization, racialization, the nature of the body and fragmentation, and the emergence of medical practice and authority in the United States.


Foreword I: Debra L. Martin
Foreword II: Michael Sappol

Chapter 1: Introduction / Kenneth C. Nystrom

Section I: Evidence from Early Colonial America
Chapter 2: Renaissance Anatomy in the Americas: A Bioarchaeological Perspective on the Earliest Skeletal Evidence of Autopsy in the New World / Thomas Crist and Marcella Sorg
Chapter 3: Skeletal and Artifact Evidence for Surgery and Autopsy at James Fort / Karin S. Bruwelheide, Douglas W. Owsley, Jamie E. May, and Beverly A. Straube
Chapter 4: A Dissection at the Coffeehouse? The Performance of Anatomical Expertise in Colonial America / Ellen Chapman and Mark Kostro

Section II: Evidence from Public Cemeteries
Chapter 5: Partible Persons or Persons Apart: Anatomized Remains from the Spring Street Presbyterian Church Burial Vaults / Shannon Novak

Section III: Evidence from Medical Institutions
Chapter 6: Teachings of the Dead: The Archaeology of Anatomized Remains from Holden Chapel, Harvard University / Christina J. Hodge, Jane Lyden Rousseau, and Michele E. Morgan
Chapter 7: Commingled Skeletal Remains from a Well on the Medical College of Virginia Campus / Doug Owsley, Karin Bruwelheide, Merry Outlaw, Richard L. Jantz, and Jodi L. Koste
Chapter 8: Structural Violence in New Orleans: Skeletal Evidence from Charity Hospital's Cemeteries, 1847-1929 / Christine Halling and Ryan Seidemann
Chapter 9: Dissection and Documented Skeletal Collections / Jennifer Muller, Kristen Pearlstein, and Carlina de la Cova

Section IV: Evidence from Almshouse Cemeteries
Chapter 10: Autopsy, Dissection, and Anatomical Exploration: The Post-Mortem Fate of the Underclass and Institutionalized in Old Milwaukee / Sean Dougherty and Normal Sullivan
Chapter 11: "You couldn't identify your grandmother if she were in that party": The Bioarchaeology of Postmortem Investigation at the Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery / Patricia B. Richards, Catherine R. Jones, Emily Mueller Epstein, and Thomas J. Zych
Chapter 12: "The mangled remains of what had been humanity": Evidence of Autopsy and Dissection at Philadelphia's Blockley Almshouse, 1835-1895 / Thomas Crist, Douglas Mooney, and Kimberly Morrell
Chapter 13: Structural Inequality of the Socially Marginalized and Postmortem Examination at the Erie County Poorhouse / Kenneth C. Nystrom, Joyce Sirianni, Rosanne Higgins, Jennifer Raines, and Douglas Perrelli
Chapter 14: Exploring Evidence of 19th Century Dissection in the Dunning Poorhouse Cemetery / Anne Grauer, Vanessa Lathrop, and Taylor Timoteo
Chapter 15: A Historical and Osteological Analysis of Postmortem Medical Practices from the Albany County Almshouse Cemetery Skeletal Sample in Albany, New York / Kimberly Lowe Lusignan
Chapter 16: The anthropology of dissection and autopsy / Kenneth C. Nystrom

Customer Reviews


Kenneth Nystrom is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the State University of New York at New Paltz, USA. He received his B.A. from the University of Minnesota-Duluth (1997), and his M.S. (1999) and Ph.D. (2005) from the University of New Mexico. He would characterize himself as a broadly trained bioarchaeologist. His early research focused on the Chachapoya of northern Peru where he investigated a range of topics including the reconstruction of mortuary behavior based on palaeoentomology, trepanation and trauma, and the impact of Inca conquest on site-specific and regional-level genetic homogeneity using craniometrics. He has also conducted research on long bone cross-sectional geometry in Early Classic elites from Copan, Honduras and post-marital residence patterns among the Chiribaya of southern Peru utilizing craniometrics. His current focus is on African American and almshouse cemeteries from the 19th and 20th centuries in the United States. He grounds his research in the understanding that the biological and social world in which we live is incorporated into and onto our bodies. From this perspective he has examined dental health, trauma, and sex-specific post-manumission migration using strontium isotopes in a historic African American cemetery from New York. Additionally, he considered how the postmortem examination of a young woman from this cemetery can inform on our understanding of how social identity of African Americans was constructed during the 19th century. He is currently analyzing evidence of dissection and surgical experimentation from the Erie County Poorhouse from this same perspective.

By: Kenneth C Nystrom(Editor), Debra L Martin(Foreword By), Michael Sappol(Foreword By)
346 pages, 66 colour & 33 b/w photos and illustrations, tables
Publisher: Springer Nature
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