Bioarchaeology: The Lives and Lifestyles of Past People

  title={Bioarchaeology: The Lives and Lifestyles of Past People},
  author={Clark Spencer Larsen},
  journal={Journal of Archaeological Research},
  • C. Larsen
  • Published 1 June 2002
  • Biology
  • Journal of Archaeological Research
Skeletons represent the most direct evidence of the biology of past populations, and their study provides insight into health and well-being, dietary history, lifestyle (activity), violence and trauma, ancestry, and demography. These areas help inform our understanding of a range of issues, such as the causes and consequences of adaptive shifts in the past (e.g., foraging to farming, sedentarism), the biological impact of invasion and colonization, differential access to food and other… 

Figures from this paper

New Directions in Bioarchaeology: Recent Contributions to the Study of Human Social Identities
As a discipline that bridges the biological and social sciences, bioarchaeology has much to contribute to a contextualized and theoretically sophisticated understanding of social identities. Here, we
Diet, subsistence and health: A bioarchaeological analysis of Chongos, Peru
It is possible to assess important archaeological questions about prehistoric individuals and groups, learning a great deal about their lives through bioarchaeological analysis of human skeletal
Reconstructing diet, health and activity patterns in early nomadic pastoralist communities of inner Asia.
From the distant past until the present day, the archetypal image of the vast steppe lands of Inner Asia has been represented by populations practicing various forms of nomadic pastoralism as their
Bone morphologies and histories: Life course approaches in bioarchaeology.
  • S. Agarwal
  • Sociology, Medicine
    American journal of physical anthropology
  • 2016
The scope of contemporary bioarchaeological studies that illuminate the importance of environmental and behavioral influence on bone morphology is demonstrated, specifically highlighting key recent studies that have used life course approaches to understand the influence of growth, stress, diet, activity, and aging on the skeleton.
Investigating the health of our ancestors : Insights from the evolutionary genetic consequences of prehistoric diseases
It is proposed that a complementary approach, based on patterns of genetic variation in contemporary populations, can also provide insights into prehistoric health and disease.
A bioarchaeological analysis of oral and physiological health on the south coast of New Guinea.
Compared palaeohealth of two relatively contemporaneous skeletal samples from the south coast of New Guinea that were from two ecologically different sites and likely represent distinct cultural groups is compared to elucidate health patterns that may provide information about the specific lifeways and quality of life of each community.
Bioarchaeology of the everyday: Analysis of activity patterns and diet in the Nile Valley
Schrader, Sarah A. Ph.D., Purdue University, August 2013. Bioarchaeology of the Everyday: Analysis of Activity Patterns and Diet in the Nile Valley. Major Professor: Michele Buzon. By employing a
Health Impacts at the Advent of Agriculture
The transition from a hunting and gathering lifestyle to one based in agriculture may have been the most crucial development made by past peoples, transforming not only diet, but social structure,
Enslaved Labor In The Gang and Task Systems: A Case Study In Comparative Bioarchaeology Of Commingled Remains
This study designs and tests an approach intended to confront one of the major problems faced within biological anthropology, the commingling or mixing of human skeletal remains. The first goal of
Paleopathology and the origin of agriculture in the Levant.
Results indicate that in the southern Levant the Neolithic transition did not simply lead to an overall deterioration in health but rather resulted in a complex health profile which was shaped by an increase exposure to disease agents, changes in diet, population aggregation in larger and denser settlements, and possibly a higher resistant immunological system and response capacity to environmental aggressions.


Bioarchaeological Studies of Life in the Age of Agriculture: A View from the Southeast
Investigations of skeletal remains from key archaeological sites reveal new data and offer insights on prehistoric life and health in the Southeast.The shift from foraging to farming had important
6 – Bioarchaeological Interpretations of Subsistence Economy and Behavior from Human Skeletal Remains
Publisher Summary This chapter presents a synthesis of recent advances made in bioarchaeology, an emerging discipline that emphasizes the human biological component of the archaeological record. The
In the wake of Columbus: Native population biology in the postcontact Americas
A range of studies on the biological impact of European colonization of the Americas on native populations show that although rapid population loss and extinction occurred in some areas, many groups survived and accommodated new and challenging circumstances, and indicate that there are common elements to native response to contact with Europeans, but population and regional changes were shaped by localized factors.
Paleopathology at the Origins of Agriculture
In 1982, the Conference on Paleopathology and Socioeconomic Change at the Origins of Agriculture was held in Plattsburgh, New York, to examine previously untested theories about how the adoption of
Nutrition and Politics in Prehistory
▪ Abstract The interaction of nutritional status with political structure in prehistoric New World societies is examined through bioarchaeological analysis. Overall, a general correlation is seen
Skeletal correlates of human behavior in the americas
A review of recent anthropological research deriving behavioral inferences from analyses of human skeletal remains focuses on interpretations of diet, social organization, population structure and
Health in past societies : biocultural interpretations of human skeletal remains in archaeological contexts
There is a good trans-Atlantic mix in the eleven contributions to this volume whose theme is our recognition of the health of past societies, and its significance for them; developed from sessions at
The Osteological Paradox: Problems of Inferring Prehistoric Health from Skeletal Samples [and Comments and Reply]
Paleodemography and paleopathology presuppose that direct relationships exist between statistics calculated from archaeological skeletal series (e.g., skeletal lesion frequencies and mean age at
Findings indicate that the shift from food collection to agriculture involved an overall decline in oral and general health, and changes in food composition and preparation technology contributed to craniofacial and dental alterations.
In the wake of contact : biological responses to conquest
Bioanthropological Perspectives on Postcontact Transitions Late Prehistoric and Early Historic Diet in Gulf Coast Florida The Stresses of Conquest in Spanish Florida: Structural Adaptation and Change