What is it?
Anatomy gross and microscopic study of anatomical structures
Archaeology study of past human societies through artifacts, biofacts, architecture,
Anthropology study of humankind
Science a system for acquiring knowledge through experimentation and hypothesis testing
How do bioarcaheologists know what they know?
Bone is a very dynamic/ plastic tissue
Bone morphology is influenced by genetics and the environment
Life history events are recorded in the skeleton
Subfields of osteology
Paleodemography: Study of ancient population structure, mortality and fertility
Population relations: study of biological relationships and migration based on morphological and
Paleopathology: the study of ancient health and disease; origin and evolution of disease
Paelonutrition: the analysis of prehistoric diets and dietary intake in relation to health and
o Are the skeletal remains human or animal?
At a macroscopic level, bones & bone fragments with join surfaces should be
identifiable. Fragments need to be directly compared
o How many individuals are represented by the skeletal remains?
Min number of individuals (MNI) = an estimate
If remains are in good condition & relatively complete, MNI is probably accurate
Reconstruction check for cross-mends & summarize represents the
maximum number of individuals
Overlap look for overlap in elements, move towards a preliminary conclusion
Excluding non-overlapping elemts on the basis of size, sex & age