Skeletons in Our Closet
Revealing Our Past Through Bioarchaeology
By (author) Clark Spencer Larsen
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Skeletons in Our Closet by Clark Spencer Larsen
Book DescriptionThe dead tell no tales. Or do they? In this fascinating book, Clark Spencer Larsen shows that the dead can speak to us--about their lives, and ours--through the remarkable insights of bioarchaeology, which reconstructs the lives and lifestyles of past peoples based on the study of skeletal remains. The human skeleton is an amazing storehouse of information. It records the circumstances of our growth and development as reflected in factors such as disease, stress, diet, nutrition, climate, activity, and injury. Bioarchaeologists, by combining the methods of forensic science and archaeology, along with the resources of many other disciplines (including chemistry, geology, physics, and biology), "read" the information stored in bones to understand what life was really like for our human ancestors. They are unearthing some surprises. For instance, the shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture approximately 10,000 years ago has commonly been seen as a major advancement in the course of human evolution. However, as Larsen provocatively shows, this change may not have been so positive. Compared to their hunter-gatherer ancestors, many early farmers suffered more disease, had to work harder, and endured a poorer quality of life due to poorer diets and more marginal living conditions. Moreover, the past 10,000 years have seen dramatic changes in the human physiognomy as a result of alterations in our diet and lifestyle. Some modern health problems, including obesity and chronic disease, may also have their roots in these earlier changes. Drawing on vivid accounts from his own experiences as a bioarchaeologist, Larsen guides us through some of the key developments in recent human evolution, including the adoption of agriculture, the arrival of Europeans in the Americas and the biological consequences of this contact, and the settlement of the American West in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Written in a lively and engaging manner, this book is for anyone interested in what the dead have to tell us about the living.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691092843
(229mm x 152mm x 14mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 11-Feb-2002
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Clark Spencer Larsen
Bioarchaeology, Paperback (March 2015)
A synthetic treatment of the study of human remains from archaeological contexts for current and future generations of bioarchaeologists.
Our Origins, Paperback (February 2014)
Gives students the tools they need to see the Big Picture.
Companion to Biological Anthropology, Hardback (April 2010)
This Companion provides an extensive overview of the rapidly growing field of biological anthropology. Chapters are written by leading scholars who have themselves played a major role in shaping the direction and scope of the discipline.
In the Wake of Contact, Hardback (January 1994)» View all books by Clark Spencer Larsen
This study illustrates the variety of contributions that bioarchaeologists are making currently to the assessment of contact period population numbers. The contributors emphasize the devastating impact on indigenous people of the arrival of newcomers from the Old World.
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Author Biography - Clark Spencer Larsen
Clark Spencer Larsen is the chair of the Department of Anthropology and Distinguished Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Ohio State University. He is a former president of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists and is currently Editor in Chief of the American journal of Physical Anthropology. He is the author of Bioarcheology: Interpreting Behavior from the Human Skeleton.
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