Beyond the Bones

Beyond the Bones

Engaging with Disparate Datasets

1st Edition - May 7, 2016

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  • Editors: Madeleine Mant, Alyson Holland
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128046685
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128046012

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Interdisciplinary research is a rewarding enterprise, but there are inherent challenges, especially in current anthropological study. Anthropologists investigate questions concerning health, disease, and the life course in past and contemporary societies, necessitating interdisciplinary collaboration. Tackling these ‘big picture’ questions related to human health-states requires understanding and integrating social, historical, environmental, and biological contexts and uniting qualitative and quantitative data from divergent sources and technologies. The crucial interplay between new technologies and traditional approaches to anthropology necessitates innovative approaches that promote the emergence of new and alternate views. Beyond the Bones: Engaging with Disparate Datasets fills an emerging niche, providing a forum in which anthropology students and scholars wrestle with the fundamental possibilities and limitations in uniting multiple lines of evidence. This text demonstrates the importance of a multi-faceted approach to research design and data collection and provides concrete examples of research questions, designs, and results that are produced through the integration of different methods, providing guidance for future researchers and fostering the creation of constructive discourse. Contributions from various experts in the field highlight lines of evidence as varied as skeletal remains, cemetery reports, hospital records, digital radiographs, ancient DNA, clinical datasets, linguistic models, and nutritional interviews, including discussions of the problems, limitations, and benefits of drawing upon and comparing datasets, while illuminating the many ways in which anthropologists are using multiple data sources to unravel larger conceptual questions in anthropology.

Key Features

  • Examines how disparate datasets are combined using case studies from current research.
  • Draws on multiple sub-disciplines of anthropological research to produce a holistic overview that speaks to anthropology as a discipline.
  • Explores examples drawn from qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research to illustrate the breadth of anthropological work.


Anthropologists studying human experiences with health and disease in the past and present, biological anthropologists, palaeopathologists, historical archaeologists, nutritional and medical anthropologists, public health professionals, palaeoepidemiologists, historians, museum curators, graduate students

Table of Contents

  • Foreword by Dr. Charlotte Roberts
    Chapter 1. Introduction: Beyond the bones in physical anthropology
    Chapter 2. Missing, presumed dead: Deconstructing ‘high’ infant mortality with new data sets in historic cemetery populations
    Chapter 3. Direct digital radiographic imaging of archaeological skeletal assemblages: An advantageous technique and the use of the images as a research resource
    Chapter 4. ‘Readmitted under urgent circumstance’: Uniting archives and bioarchaeology at the Royal London Hospital
    Chapter 5. Between the lines: Interpreting disparate data in castration studies
    Chapter 6. Hunting for pathogens: Ancient DNA and the historical record
    Chapter 7. The use of linguistic data in bioarchaeological research: An example from the American Southwest
    Chapter 8. The present informs the past: Incorporating modern clinical data into paleopathological analyses of metabolic bone disease
    Chapter 9. Uniting perception and reality in human nutrition: Integration of qualitative and quantitative data to understand consumption
    Chapter 10. Conclusions and Future Directions

Product details

  • No. of pages: 168
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2016
  • Published: May 7, 2016
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128046685
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128046012

About the Editors

Madeleine Mant

Madeleine L. Mant, PhD, is a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Archaeology at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. She has published bioarcheological and historical articles in international peer-reviewed journals. Her Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship-funded doctoral research involved the uniting of archival and skeletal data to study skeletal trauma and fracture experience in Georgian London, UK.

Affiliations and Expertise

Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Archaeology at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

Alyson Holland

Alyson Jaagumägi Holland, PhD, has experience in archaeology, biological, and medical anthropology. She has published on topics related to bioarchaeology and medical anthropology, including her doctoral using qualitative methods to explore nutrition and osteoporosis in Canadian young adults. Dr. Holland is also active in bioarchaeology as a member of a community archaeology project in British Columbia and is a licensed professional She is currently training to become a family physician, seeking to unite her interest in the nutrition of past peoples with modern health interventions.

Affiliations and Expertise

McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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