A rapidly growing approach within bioarchaeology that focuses on understanding people of the past in their sociocultural contexts
“An important and timely contribution to both the bioarchaeology of Mesoamerica and the deployment of osteobiography within the field of bioarchaeology.”—Lauren Hosek, University of Colorado, Boulder
“The authors of this volume take a challenging approach to understanding the lived experience of people in the past in a novel and interesting way.”—Corey Ragsdale, Southern Illinois University
Drawing from a variety of sites throughout Mesoamerica, this volume presents a collection of osteobiographies, which analyze skeletons and their surroundings alongside historical, archaeological, ethnographic, and other contextual data to better understand the life experiences of individuals. This approach allows for a focus on the processes by which individual social identities are created, negotiated, and altered.
In these chapters, contributors address what individual bodies reveal about their societies, what burials can tell us about the ways people were remembered, and what information about disease and health indicates about lifestyles. Each case study compiles a range of available data to gain insights into a specific time and place. Recreating the lives of individuals from locations in Belize, Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, the volume includes descriptions of everyday activities, the social roles of priests and merchants, memorial practices, and many other spheres of human life.
Mesoamerican Osteobiographies demonstrates how the diverse, culturally laden, and complex archaeological record of Mesoamerica can uniquely contribute to bioarchaeology, in part due to the region’s many unusual and elaborate mortuary contexts. The different contributions in this volume show that the osteobiography approach can be integrated into existing research frameworks, both in Mesoamerica and around the world, to answer meaningful biocultural questions about the lives and deaths of ancient people.
Gabriel D. Wrobel, professor of anthropology at Michigan State University, is the editor of The Bioarchaeology of Space and Place: Ideology, Power, and Meaning in Maya Mortuary Contexts. Andrea Cucina, professor of bioarchaeology at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán in Mérida, Mexico, is editor or coeditor of several volumes, including Bioarchaeology of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica: An Interdisciplinary Approach.
Contributors: Pamela Geller | Satoru Murata | Gabriel D. Wrobel | Carolyn Freiwald | Kirsten Green Mink | David W. Mixter | Ricardo Rodas | Dr. Della Cook | Abigail Meza Peñaloza | Ethan C. Hill | Erik Velásquez García | Jack Biggs | Frederico Zurtuche | Mónica Urquizú | John Robb | María Belén Méndez Bauer | DR Vera Tiesler | Dr. Andrew K. Scherer | DR Melissa S. Murphy | Lourdes Marquez Morfín | Ana Maria Padilla Dorantes | Dr. Andrea Cucina | Paige Wojcik Woolfolk | Eleanor Harrison-Buck | Claire Ebert | Aurora Marcela Pérez-Flórez | Destiny Micklin | Morgan McKenna | Allan Ortega-Muñoz | Kara Fulton | Lexi O'Donnell | Peter Mercier | Omar A. Alcover-Firpi | Mariah Biggs | Prof Jane Buikstra | Katherine Miller Wolf | Keith Prufer | Jaime Awe | D. Eli Mrak | Emily Moes | Douglas J. Kennett | Joshua T. Schnell | Amy Hair | Takeshi Inomata | Mónica Rodriguez Pérez | Ellen Bell | Daniela Triadan | Samantha Sharon Negrete Gutiérrez | Alex Garcia-Putnam | Anna C. Novotny | Marie Danforth | Lisa LeCount | Loa P. Traxler | Rosalba Yasmin Cifuentes Argüello | Shintaro Suzuki | Fernando Gutiérrez Méndez | Samantha Blatt | Mark Robinson | Amy Michael | Sandra Elizalde
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