Thursday November 21, 2013.
Ten Key Questions for Physical Anthropologists
#1 Is it Bone?
• Difficult when dealing with older bones
• Bones dating thousands of years ago look like rock
• Are porous ▯allows for blood vessels and capillaries to get through the bone
#2 ▯ Is it Human
• Police officers generally are asked this question
• When dealing with species that are similar to humans, you don’t want to get
• Analyze the epiphyses ▯long ends of bone (arm, femur, tibia, fibia)
• Human aphesis tend to fuse together later in life, while animals fuse earlier
#3 ▯ Is the Bone sample Modern or Archaeological?
• Context (what is the body associated with?)
• Date the body with the artifacts that surround the body
• Radiocarbon dating (carbon 14 dating) can date a fragment of bone, charcoal,
animal bones etc. ▯results in a date range (between 1940 and 1980)
• Analyze wear patterns on bones ▯can get wearing down on bones by climate
changes, freezing of ground layer (crack in bone)
#4 ▯What bones (and teeth) is present?
• Bodies are often sealed
• Recent bodies usually all bones are present
• Archeological bodies are difficult to put the whole body together
• MNI > Minimum Number of Individuals and/or Minimum Number of Features
• If there’s more than one individual in a certain setting
#5 ▯How many individuals present
• Ossuary: way of burial where multiple people are buried together
• Ex. The Iroquois of Ontario: feast of the dead ▯when someone dies you bury