The Bioarchaeology of Metabolic Bone Disease provides a comprehensive and invaluable source of information on this important group of diseases. It is an essential guide for those engaged in either basic recording or in-depth research on human remains from archaeological sites. The range of potential tools for investigating metabolic diseases of bone are far greater than for many other conditions, and building on clinical investigations, this book will consider gross, surface features visible using microscopic examination, histological and radiological features of bone, that can be used to help investigate metabolic bone diseases.

Key Features

*Clear photographs and line drawings illustrate gross, histological and radiological features associated with each of the conditions *Covers a range of issues pertinent to the study of metabolic bone disease in archaeological skeletal material, including the problems that frequent co-existence of these conditions in individuals living in the past raises, the preservation of human bone and the impact this has on the ability to suggest a diagnosis of a condition *Includes a range of conditions that can lead to osteopenia and osteoporosis, including previous investigations of these conditions in archaeological bone


A wide range of individuals engaged in the study of physical anthropology, paleopathology, medical history and forensic anthropology.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Foreword Chapter 1. Introduction Metabolic Bone Disease: A Definition Format of the Book Chapter 2. The Study of Metabolic Bone Disease in Bioarchaeology Approaches to the Study of Metabolic Bone Disease Challenges in the Investigation of Metabolic Bone Disease Museum Collections Archaeological Human Bone Paleopathological Diagnoses Demographic Issues Modern Medical Data Genetics and Anthropology Cultural and Social Anthropology Nutritional and Medical Anthropology Primatology Conclusions Chapter 3. Background to Bone Biology and Mineral Metabolism Bone Tissue: Cortical and Trabecular Bone Different Types of Bone Structure: Woven Bone and Lamellar Bone Bone Cells Modeling and Remodeling: Growth and Adulthood Mechanisms of Growth Modeling Remodeling Bone Mineralization: The Extracellular Matrix (osteoid) Tooth Formation and Mineralization Reasons for Remodeling Box Feature 3.1. Bone Biology in Context of the Life Course Bone Biology in Fracture Healing Mineral Metabolism during Life Extracellular Mineral Metabolism Conclusions Chapter 4. Vitamin C Deficiency Scurvy Causes of Vitamin C Deficiency Sources of Vitamin C Box Feature 4.1. Scurvy and Weaning The Role of Vitamin C Vitamin C Requirements Consequences of Scurvy Consequences for Adults Consequences for Children Scurvy in the Modern Perspective Anthropological Perspectives Reference to Probable Scurvy in Early Texts Box Feature 4.2. Subsistence Change and the Development of Scurvy: The Origins of Agriculture A More Recent View of Scurvy in the Past Paleopathological Cases of Scurvy Diagnosis of Scurvy in Archaeological Bone Macr


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© 2008
Academic Press
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About the authors

Megan Brickley

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Birmingham, The Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity, UK

Rachel Ives

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Birmingham, The Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity, UK


"[Bioarchaeology of Metabolic Bone Disease] takes us along a fascinating exploratory journey of the main (and not so common) metabolic bone diseases identifiable in skeletal remains. Useful supporting tables, and clear photographic images and line drawings, supplement the text, with a concluding chapter providing a view of future research...."

Professor Charlotte A. Roberts
Department of Archaeology
Durham University

"The authors’ cogent discussion of how elements within a given lifestyle, including diet/nutrition, cultural practices, socio-economic status, and the surrounding environment, can significantly impact the health of individuals and of societies is illustrated with abundant well-chosen anthropological examples. This volume will be of great value to all scholars devoted to accurate, informative reconstructions of past human life."

Mary Lucas Powell, Ph.D.
Past Editor, Paleopathology Newsletter
The Paleopathology Association