Ancient Health:
Skeletal Indicators of Agricultural and Economic Intensification

Edited by Mark Nathan Cohen and Gillian M. M. Crane-Kramer

Foreword by Clark Spencer Larsen, Series Editor

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"Pulls together a global sampling of excellent research on a topic of great interest to scholars of prehistory that otherwise would be difficult to assemble or in some cases to even access."--Patricia M. Lambert, Utah State University

Twenty years ago Mark Nathan Cohen coedited a collection of essays that set a new standard in using paleopathology to identify trends in health associated with changes in prehistoric technology, economy, demography, and political centralization. Ancient Health expands and celebrates that work.

Confirming earlier conclusions that human health declined after the adoption of farming and the rise of civilization, this book greatly enlarges the geographical range of paleopathological studies by including new work from both established and up-and-coming scholars. Moving beyond the western hemisphere and western Eurasia, this collection involves studies from Chile, Peru, Mexico, the United States, Denmark, Britain, Portugal, South Africa, Israel, India, Vietnam, Thailand, China, and Mongolia.

Adding great significance to this volume, the author discusses and successfully rebuts the arguments of the "osteological paradox" that long have challenged work in the area of quantitative paleopathology, demonstrating that the "paradox" has far less meaning than its proponents argue.

Mark Nathan Cohen is University Distinguished Teaching Professor of Anthropology at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh. Gillian M. M. Crane-Kramer teaches anthropology at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh.

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" This collection of papers allows us to see that health in the past did not necessarily decline through time"
--Cambridge Archaeological Journal

"While many works published in English have examined the changing patterns of health from foraging to intensive agriculture in the New World and, to a lesser extent, Europe and the Near East, the rest of the world has received far less attention. It is in this aspect that Ancient Health truly shines." "Without question, this is a volume that every professional bioarchaeologist should purchase."
--Journal of Anthropological Research

"This innovative volume presents research from all over the world."
--Bella Online

"Intended as a supplement and update for Cohen and Armelagos's classic Paleopathology at the Origins of Agriculture, Cohen and Crane-Kramer's volume succeeds on both counts and stands as a valuable contribution to ongoing research of the effects of the momentous changes in subsistence and population size and density on human health throughout the past 10,000 years. . . . The final chapter, the editors' summation, is a concise gem. . . . Without question, this is a volume that every professional bioarchaeologist should purchase."
--Journal of Anthropological Research

"While Cohen emphasizes a challenge to a paradigm that health improves through time, this collection of papers allows us to see that health in the past did not necessarily decline through time. As Larsen says in his foreward, the papers demonstrate that the trends in the 'quality of life and well-being. . . . are more complex than was previously imagined.'"
--Cambridge Archaeological Journal

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