Chapter Two Glossary: Bioarchaeology
Bioarchaeology: The analysis of past people and their individual lives by studying and interpreting their mortal
Paleodemography: The study of prehistoric populations, including their number, distribution, density, sex and age
structure, mortality and fertility.
Secondary Burial: A burial exhumed from its original location and reburied elsewhere, such as in an ossuary.
Cremains: Burned human remains.
Osteobiography: Information about an individual’s appearance, health, age at death, cause of death, and other
characteristics derived from an analysis of the skeleton.
Skeletal Sex: The sex of a person calculated from measurements of the skeleton, such as the size of the
opening in the pelvic girdle.
Skeletal Age: The age of a person calculated from measurements of the skeleton, such as the extent of
Ossification: The process by which cartilage takes on calcium phosphate, which hardens the cartilage to
Epiphyseal Fusion: The process of fusion of the ends of the long bones to the shaft of the bones, generally by the
late teens or early twenties.
Skeletal Stature: The stature of a person calculated from measurements of the skeleton, such as the length of
the long bones.
Skeletal Pathology: Evidence of disease or trauma that can be observed in the bones of the skeleton.
Antemortem: Changes in organic material that took place before death; generally used to refer to human
Postmortem: Changes in organic material that took place after death; generally used to refer to human
Trephining: Cutting a hole into the skull of an individual while the person is still alive to relieve pressure on
Harris Lines: Thin, bony, horizontal lines representing periods of arrested growth seen in the radiographs of
long bones of individuals who experienced nutritional stress during their childhood or
Stable Isotope Analysis: The measurement of stable isotopes in bone, primarily carbon and nitrogen, to analyse aspects
of past behavior, such as diet.
Metabolic Pathways: In reference to stable isotope analysis, the manner in which carbon dioxide is converted to
energy by various types of plants. Two common metabolic pathways found in plants of
economic importance to humans are the Calvin Cycle and the Hack-Slack pathway.
Deductive Approach: One of two approaches to the scientific method where a hypothesis is generated before any
data is collected to test the hypothesis for its support or falsification. Inductive Approach: One of two approaches in science where data about a particular subject are freely collected
with no preconceived ideas but the data then generates a hypothesis.
Law: A theory that has been tested and retested by many scientists over many years and has not