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Osteoarchaeology - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128040218, 9780128040973


1st Edition

A Guide to the Macroscopic Study of Human Skeletal Remains

Author: Efthymia Nikita
Hardcover ISBN: 9780128040218
eBook ISBN: 9780128040973
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 22nd December 2016
Page Count: 462
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Osteoarchaeology: A Guide to the Macroscopic Study of Human Skeletal Remains covers the identification of bones and teeth, taphonomy, sex, ancestry assessment, age estimation, the analysis of biodistances, growth patterns and activity markers, and paleopathology.

The book aims to familiarize the reader with the main applications of osteoarchaeology and provide the necessary knowledge required for the implementation of a broad range of osteological methods. It is ideal as a complement to existing textbooks used in upper level undergraduate and graduate courses on osteoarchaeology, human osteology, and, to some extent, forensic anthropology.

Pedagogical features include ample illustrations, case study material, revision exercises, and a glossary. Additional features comprise macros that facilitate data processing and analysis, as well as an extensive chapter on applied statistics.

Key Features

  • Contains coverage of nearly every aspect of human osteological macroscopic analysis
  • Presents detailed descriptions of the application of different methods
  • Includes a variety of online resources, including macros designed by the author for the calculation of the number of individuals in commingled assemblages, processing cranial landmarks and nonmetric traits, and more


Students studying bioarchaeology, osteoarchaeology, physical/biological anthropology, biology, archaeology both in undergraduate and graduate levels

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. The Human Skeleton

  • 1.1. Bone Function
  • 1.2. Bone Classification
  • 1.3. Bone Structure
  • 1.4. Bone Composition and Cells
  • 1.5. Bone Growth and Development
  • 1.6. Planes of Reference and Directional Terms
  • 1.7. Bone Identification
  • 1.8. Teeth

Chapter 2. Taphonomy

  • 2.1. Taphonomy in Archaeological and Forensic Contexts
  • 2.2. Decomposition Process
  • 2.3. Scavengers
  • 2.4. Human Agents
  • 2.5. Natural Environment
  • 2.6. Intrinsic Preservation Factors
  • 2.7. Commingling

Chapter 3. Sex and Ancestry Assessment

  • 3.1. Sex Assessment
  • 3.2. Ancestry

Chapter 4. Age Estimation

  • 4.1. Age Estimation
  • 4.2. Juveniles
  • 4.3. Adults

Chapter 5. Biological Distance

  • 5.1. Metric Methods
  • 5.2. Nonmetric Traits
  • 5.3. R-Matrix Analysis

Chapter 6. Growth Patterns

  • 6.1. Growth in Human Populations
  • 6.2. Growth Patterns as a Stress Marker
  • 6.3. Catch-Up and Catch-Down Growth
  • 6.4. Osteoarchaeological Applications
  • 6.5. Methodological Approaches
  • 6.6. Limitations of Growth Pattern Studies
  • 6.7. Stature Estimation
  • 6.8. Body Mass Estimation

Chapter 7. Activity Patterns

  • 7.1. Entheseal Changes
  • 7.2. Long-Bone Cross-Sectional Geometric Properties
  • 7.3. Dental Wear

Chapter 8. Pathological Conditions

  • 8.1. The Osteological Paradox
  • 8.2. Macroscopic Paleopathological Examination
  • 8.3. Developmental Anomalies
  • 8.4. Metabolic Diseases
  • 8.5. Hematopoietic Diseases
  • 8.6. Endocrine Disorders
  • 8.7. Infectious Diseases
  • 8.8. Tumors
  • 8.9. Trauma
  • 8.10. Joint Disease
  • 8.11. Dental Diseases
  • 8.12. Calculation of Disease Prevalence and Statistical Analysis

Chapter 9. Statistical Methods in Human Osteology

  • 9.1. Basic Statistical Concepts
  • 9.2. Descriptive Statistics
  • 9.3. Inferential Statistics: Statistical Hypothesis Testing
  • 9.4. Tests of Significance Between Two Samples
  • 9.5. Statistical Tests Among Many Samples
  • 9.6. Tests for Categorical Data
  • 9.7. Data Modeling
  • 9.8. Correlation
  • 9.9. Multivariate Analysis


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2017
22nd December 2016
Academic Press
Hardcover ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Efthymia Nikita

Dr Efthymia Nikita is an Assistant Professor at the Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Center, The Cyprus Institute, in Nicosia. She is a bioarchaeologist with an undergraduate degree in Archaeology (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) and a PhD in Biological Anthropology (University of Cambridge). Her research aligns with biocultural approaches and seeks to provide insights into the activity, mobility, demography, health, and diet of past populations using macroscopic and microanalytical methods. Geographically, her projects span North Africa, Greece, and the United Kingdom, while, temporally, they cover prehistoric to medieval times. In addition, she is engaged in refining the available osteoarchaeological methodology by evaluating current methods and suggesting new approaches in the study of commingled remains, biodistances, and activity markers. Her research has received funding from European and American foundations and has resulted in more than 40 articles and book chapters.

Affiliations and Expertise

Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Center, The Cyprus Institute


2018 PROSE Awards - Honorable Mention, Textbook/Social Services: Association of American Publishers

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