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Bioarchaeologists in Peru Seek Secrets From Ancient Skeletons

The field of bioarchaeology is concerned with investigating skeletal remains to learn how people in from the past lived (as opposed to how they died).

There was an interesting blog post up on National Geographic this week by Haagen Klaus, a bioarchaeologist whose research team from George Mason University is currently studying the remains of civilizations dotting the coastal regions of northern Peru. Klaus explains that archaeologists study skeletons not to learn cause of death but rather to gain insights into how past societies lived their everyday lives:


“Bioarchaeological science is most concerned with life and how people in the past lived. Only very rarely do ancient skeletons tells us about how people died. Most of the information we seek deals with demography, disease, diet, physical activity, trauma, and genetic relationships.”

Klaus’ post, which he deems a sort of “Bioarchaeology 101,” takes us through how researchers obtain demographic information from skeletons via age and sex patterns. He also explains how his team can draw conclusions about birth rates, diets, disease, art, violence, and other forms of physical activity just by collecting clues stored in skeletal remains. It’s a fascinating read that’ll open your eyes to a special branch of archeology that’s much more Dick Tracy than Indiana Jones.

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Read more at National Geographic

Photo credit: Aggata / Shutterstock


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