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Burial archaeology Current research methods and developments. Edited by Charlotte A. Roberts Frances Lee and John Bintliff. B.A.R. British Series 211. 1989. 293 pp

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in both estimated fatness and in lean body
mass. Satyanarayana and colleagues discuss the social correlates of undernutrition
in India, painting a depressing picture of a
never-ending cycle of poverty.
Argentina (Narvaez Perez et al.), Algeria
(Dekkar), and Canada (Shephard) are the
countries for which results of national surveys are presented. The latter two chapters
were among my favorites in the volume,
emphasizing the mixed blessing of improving economic conditions that lead to lower
childhood mortality and better growth, but
at the cost of increased levels of obesity and
decreased physical fitness.
The book presents a great deal of data.
Over one-third of the book is tables and
graphs. This may explain in part the cost of
the volume, but at a price of almost one
dollar per page, it is difficult to recommend
that any but the most interested actually
purchase this book. The volume contains one
glaring production error, the total omission
of the bibliography from the first chapter.
Department of Anthropology
Queens College, City University of New York
Flushing, New York
takes a conservative approach to basic osteBURIALARCHAEOLOGY:
Edited by ology. She should have included more recent
Charlotte A. Roberts, Frances Lee, and contributions t o aging the adult skeleton,
John Bintliff. B.A.R. British Series 211. such as sternal rib ends, auricular surface,
and the developments in pubic symphysis
1989.293 pp. (npg).
aging. The publication of her data forms are
“Burial archaeology seeks to understand useful and can be modified to technological
data processing.
life through death. . . .”
A few papers are “theoretical”in that they
The editors deserve credit for collecting a present models and text hypotheses. The
diverse array of papers which relate in some paper by O’Sullivan et al. found an associaway to burial preservation, excavation, re- tion between primary dental caries and cricovery analysis, and interpretation. How- bra orbitalia in prehistoric through late meever, Burial Archaeology is far too interest- dieval British samples. Higgins presents
ing a book to be beset by editorial problems. physiological models for generating operaThe volume appears to have been put to- tional hypotheses in assessing health patgether hastily, which does a disservice to the terns in agriculturally derived dental and
contents and reader. Entry into the volume skeletal remains. May’s article discusses
is complicated by a “preface” which is a within site (Ulwell Anglo-Saxon) biological
lengthy outline of a conference, list of con- and geographical variation in human bone
tributors, papers presented, and posters, fol- strontium content. In essence, while vegelowed by a list of contributors (book?) with tarian and marine diets increase the amount
their addresses (7 pages). A “table of con- of strontium in bone, pregnant and lactating
tents” followswith the subtitle “case studies” females and children also have normally
appearing twice on page ix. Pages 105-108 elevated levels of strontium. She suggests
are missing from the text, the bulk of the using dental pathology along with strontium
article by J. Richards, entitled “Computers analysis as an indicator of diet.
The case studies demonstrate the usefuland Burial Archaeology.”
Burial Archaeology could have been di- ness of cremation studies (McKinley),a natvided logically into three sections: general, ural history of tuberculosis from a leper hostechnical, and case studies. The technical pital (Magilton and Lee), and a unique
papers outnumber the other categories. This opportunity to test age and sexing techgroup consists of interesting articles on taph- niques on dated 18th and 19th century burionomy (Bethell, Garland, and Janaway), als from Christ Church (Adams and Reeve).
bone conservation (Spriggs), cremations These are insightful papers which advance
(McKinley),and dental analysis (Bouts and burial studies considerably.
Pot, Hillson, and Cruwys). Ann Stirland
The general articles by Roberts and
Manchester are commendable in view of the
specializations of the study of humankind in
Great Britain. (These specializations and
concomitant intellectual differentiation are
increasingly a fact of life within American
antropology.) The editors deserve credit for
attempting to encourage a multidisciplinary
approach involving a variety of specialists in
burial excavation, recovery, and analysis.
According to Bintliff, “we can usually focus
on the physical individual in the past through
burial archaeology in a way that settlement
excavation rarely permits.. . . [Wlhenever
bodily preservation permits . . . we have the
potential to observe . . . the broad characteristics of that individual’s life experience such
a s diet, disease, frequency of childbirth,
pressures of work and frequency of injury
. . . . [Wlhat should interest us is the relationship between the individual’s lifetime
experience and that of his or her community,
then, of that community’s lifetime experi-
ence to that of population groups at everwider geographical scales.”
This approach to recovering life-ways and
group-ways from burial archaeology is commendable. American anthropologists began
to address these issues in the 1960s (Angel)
and 1970s (Armelagos, Brown, and Buikstra, among others). Perhaps it was more
natural for American anthropology to evolve
culturally in the direction as described by
Bintliff. If sa, it is commendable that British
archeologists, human osteologists, and dental specialists should collaborate in this multidisciplinary volume which provides techniques and explores approaches that advance
the reconstruction of life-ways of individuals
and groups from burial remains.
National Museum of Health and Medicine
Washington, D.C.
Cohen, MN (1989) Health and the Rise of
Civilization. New Haven: Yale University
Press, 285 pp. $12.00 (paper).
Donald, M (1991) Origins of the Modern
Mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 413 pp. $27.95 (cloth).
Malina, RM, and C Bouchard (1991) Growth,
Maturation, and Physical Actiuity. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers,
xiii + 501 pp. npg (cloth).
Mayr, E (1991) One LongArgument: Charles
Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought. Cambridge, MA: Har-
vard University Press, xiv + 195 pp.
$19.95 (cloth).
Mellars, P (ed.) (1990) The Emergence of
Modern Humans: An Archaeological Perspective. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University
Press, 555 pp. $65.00 (cloth).
Micozzi, MS (1991) Postmortem Change in
Human and Animal Remains: A Systematic Approach. Springfield, IL: Charles C.
Thomas, 124 pp. npg (cloth).
Sinopoli, CM (1991)Approaches to Archaeological Ceramics. New York: Plenum
Press, xiii + 237 pp. $39.50 (cloth).
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development, france, current, lee, burial, series, method, roberts, john, charlotte, research, 293, british, bintliff, archaeology, 1989, edited, 211
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