What is Bioarchaeology? (text pp. 197-210)
- The study of the human skeleton in an archaeological context
o Habitual Activities
- Look for patterns within and between populations
How do we look at health?
- Palaeopathology – the study of health and disease in past populations
- Only those conditions that leave traces on the skeleton
- Patterns of illness and disease – relate it to cultural aspects
- Health – nutritional deficiencies (conditions that individuals have lived with for a period of time)
o Rickets – bending and fracture of bones caused by lack of Vitamin D
o Common in the industrial period, particular in the UK
o Associated with increased activity in factories, children were not getting sufficient amounts of
o Bones do not mineralize properly, they become weak. The pressure of walking causes bones to
How do we look at diet?
- Most common way is to look at the teeth
They can show infections or heavy tooth wear
Food doesn’t cause a cavity, but the bacteria that produces acid
How do we look at work?
- Eg. Auditory exostosis (ear and the production of some sort of bone)
o Often an obstruction in the opening of the ear in which people are often submerged in cold
water (surfers for example