Introduction to Bioarchaeology
Prereq: ANTH-UA 3
Bioarchaeology is a theoretical and methodological framework for studying human skeletal remains from archaeological contexts. Over the course of our lives, our skeletons are silently recording our unique stories. Through careful analysis, bioarchaeologists can “read” these stories and construct osteobiographies, which include information about age, sex, health, diet, stature, ancestry, activity, and experience of physical trauma. Individual osteobiographies are then assembled to study large-scale, population-level social trends. By integrating these various lines of data with social theory, bioarchaeologists can create a dynamic picture of the past that brings human experience to the foreground. This course provides an introduction to the field of bioarchaeology. Over the course of a semester, students will gain a basic understanding of human osteology and – through hands-on experience and lectures – will learn the methods that bioarchaeologists use to study human remains. Case studies from across the globe will then be introduced to demonstrate how bioarchaeology can approach a range of questions about human behavior.