This book covers almost all aspects of the study of human skeletal remains. Sections include the nature of bone material, determining age and gender, and variations in bone. It also includes information on disease, trauma and the latest knowledge using chemical and DNA analysis of bone. Although this book is not completely exhaustive on aspects of bone study, it attempts to bring in as much information as possible. Finally, it is a good read, not full of jargon as it attempts to explain bone study in a basic language. Ideal for those thinking of going into the study of human bones, professionals wanting reminding of various information, and anyone else interested in how archaeologists extract so much knowledge from bones!
I purchased this book as part of my compulsory reading list for my Human Osteology module, as part of my Archaeology degree. Terminology is explained in an easy way, making it easy to understand. This book has been highly recommended by University lecturers as it covers everything we need to know for our module. Furthermore the book contains a range of case studies which help understand how techniques etc have been applied to archaeological skeletal remains. Finally I suggest purchasing this book alongside the Human Bone Manual.
Extremely thorough guide to human remains in archaeology that is useful as an introduction, but by no means a light read. The book starts with an overview of what skeletal material actually is before going into detail about how to sex or age a skeleton. The early chapters cover standard material in these types of guides (How to spot injury and disease) whilst the later chapters go into detail of more modern methods for studying bones (Stable isotope and DNA analysis). It also explains how to deal with poor bone survival, from the effects of acidic soils to soil permeability on bone survival. Most importantly each batch of information is followed by a case study (typically from the author's own excavation at Wharram Percy, England, but also from sites across the world) and each chapter concludes with suggestions for further reading. An extremely thorough and useful reference book.