- by Lara K. Noldner and Heather J.H. Edgar
"This comparison of methods for assessing the development of muscle insertion sites, or entheses, suggests that three-dimensional (3D) quantification of enthesis morphology can produce a picture of habitual muscle use patterns in a past population that is similar to one produced by ordinal scores for describing enthesis morphology. Upper limb skeletal elements (humeri, radii, and ulnae) from a sample of 24 middle-aged adult males from the Pottery Mound site in New Mexico were analyzed for both fibrous and fibrocartilaginous enthesis development with three different methods: ordinal scores, two-dimensional (2D) area measurements, and 3D surface areas. The methods were compared using tests for asymmetry and correlations among variables in each quantitative data set. 2D representations of enthesis area did not agree as closely as ordinal scores and 3D surface areas did regarding which entheses were significantly asymmetrical. There was significant correlation between 3D and 2D data, but correlation coefficients were not consistently high. Intraobserver error was also assessed for the 3D method. Cronbach’s alpha values fell between 0.68 and 0.73, and error rates for all entheses fell between 10% and 15%. Marginally acceptable intraobserver error and the analytic versatility of 3D images encourage further investigation of using 3D scanning technology for quantifying enthesis development” (read more/not open access).
(Source: American Journal of Physical Anthropology 152:417-424, 2013)
Photos: Elyse Butler for NPR
In a joint investigation, reporters Kelly McEvers (NPR) and Megan McCloskey (ProPublica) find that America’s effort to bring home its war dead is slow, inefficient and stymied by outdated methods.
I want to help!
Hi, thanks! Anthropology is, to me, a great start toward involvement in forensics. However, if you want to be a pathologist (someone who does autopsies), you need a medical degree, which means you’ll have to be pre-med. That doesn’t mean you can’t still major in anthro though! I knew a pre-med student whose major was history. Anthropology is such a fun and diverse field, so it can truly be applied to anything!
Alternatively, if you think the human skeleton is the most awesome thing ever (which it is), you could take a shortcut and become an expert in osteology. I mean, you’ll still probably need a PhD, but it’s not med school!
What society thinks we archaeology students do… :-)
"Archaeologists knew they had found something special as they uncovered the tangle of human bones, but it was only as the scientific analysis of the skeletons progressed that the full international significance of the discovery became clear. What the archaeologists had found was a mass grave of executed Vikings.
Oxford Archaeology Project Manager David Score said: “To find out that the young men executed were Vikings is a thrilling development. Any mass grave is a relatively rare find, but to find one on this scale, from this period of history, is extremely unusual.”READ MORE:
Oxford Archaeology. Dorset Viking age mass burial publication. Past Horizons. March 04, 2014, from http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/03/2014/dorset-viking-age-mass-burial-publication
To celebrate the launch of our Etsy shop, which you can visit here https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AllThingsAAFS, we are giving away one of our hand-crafted ‘Archaeology Traveller’ small finds/anthropology tool kits (pictured below)!
The tool kit includes:
12x Stainless Steel Small…
There is one week left to enter our Giveaway!! So get liking and reblogging to double your chance!
It’s so beautiful.
Kick-ass women crime writers for Women’s History Month. These crime-fighting pioneers don’t fear a little murder and mayhem—they welcome it.
Easily organize your papers, read & annotate your PDFs, collaborate in private or open groups, and securely access your research from everywhere.
You guys probably already know about this, but holy crap. This thing has officially just changed my life.
It doesn’t always add in every detail you need, but it still helps cut down on time.
Oh yeah, I wouldn’t have made it through my masters degree without this!
People think I’m obsessed with syphilis, and maybe I am. But it’s only because of my recent indoctrination into 18th-century history by aficionados of the period, such as Lucy Inglis, Adrian Teal and Rob Lucas. I can’t read 10 pages of a medical casebook without coming across a reference to lues venerea. By the end of the century, London was literally crawling with the pox.
And it’s no surprise. Sexual promiscuity was as much a part of Georgian England as were powdered wigs and opium. For a few pennies, a gentleman could pick up Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies, or Man of Pleasure’s Kalendar—a pocket guide to London’s prostitutes published annually starting in 1771—and peruse it as he might do a fine wine list.
For three guineas, a man could partake in the pleasures provided by Miss L—st—r at No. 6 Union Street, whose ‘neighbouring hills [are] full ripe for manual pressure, firm, and elastic, and heave at every touch.’  If three guineas were too much, one could always spend a third of that for a night with Miss H—ll—nd at No. 2 York Street, who, ‘tho’ only seventeen and short, is very fat and corpulent…a luscious treat to the voluptuary.’  And for those who fancied a woman ‘rather above the common height’, they could visit Miss S—ms at No. 82 Queen Ann’s Street East, who frequently attracted lovers of a ‘diminutive size’ who loved ‘surmounting such a fine, tall woman.’ 
The guidebook wasn’t all slap and tickle, though. Hidden within these pages were warnings about the dangers of sleeping with diseased prostitutes. Military men were cautioned against Matilda Johnson, since ‘it is thought by some experienced officers, that her citadel is in danger, on account of a quantity of fiery combustible matter which is lodged in the covered way.’ Some warnings were not so subtle (or hilarious). The guidebook alerts its readers to Miss Young, who had ‘very lately had the folly and wickedness to leave a certain hospital, before the cure for a certain distemper which she had was completed.’ The book ominously adds that she has ‘thrown her contaminated carcass on the town again.’ 
Yes, syphilis was ubiquitous in 18th-century London. Aside from abstaining or entering into a monogamous relationship with a healthy partner, there was very little one could do to protect oneself from the pox. Condoms, though available during this period, were rarely employed. When used, they were frequently reused multiple times, defeating their purpose as safeguards against contamination…
Proudly proclaiming my love of syphilis.
Figure illustrating thinning of vertebral bone structure due to osteoporosis, which affects the bone’s strength. Normal bone on left and osteoporotic vertebrae on right.
Dr. Krantz and Clyde mounted at the Smithsonian. Still my favourite thing ever.
Before Krantz died, he said to Smithsonian anthropologist David Hunt, “I’ve been a teacher all my life and I think I might as well be a teacher after I’m dead, so why don’t I just give you my body.” When Hunt agreed, Krantz added, “But there’s one catch: You have to keep my dogs with me.”
This is the happiest skeleton I’ve ever seen
And here’s the “before” to the Smithsonian’s “after”…
This will never cease to warm my heart.
Much of the damage done by a bullet results from the tumbling motion and the cavitation in the tissue. This is the bullet track in clay of a .38 caliber round, demonstrating that the wound track is much larger than .38 inches (closer to 3 inches).
Bullets produce tissue damage in three ways (Adams, 1982):
Laceration and crushing - Tissue damage through laceration and crushing occurs along the path or “track” through the body that a projectile, or its fragments, may produce.
Cavitation - A “permanent” cavity is caused by the path (track) of the bullet itself with crushing of tissue, whereas a “temporary” cavity is formed by radial stretching around the bullet track from continued acceleration of the medium (air or tissue) in the wake of the bullet, causing the wound cavity to be stretched outward. For projectiles traveling at low velocity the permanent and temporary cavities are nearly the same, but at high velocity and with bullet yaw the temporary cavity becomes larger (Maiden, 2009).
Shock waves - Shock waves compress the medium and travel ahead of the bullet, as well as to the sides, but these waves last only a few microseconds and do not cause profound destruction at low velocity. At high velocity, generated shock waves can reach up to 200 atmospheres of pressure. (DiMaio and Zumwalt, 1977) However, bone fracture from cavitation is an extremely rare event. (Fackler, 1996) The ballistic pressure wave from distant bullet impact can induce a concussive-like effect in humans, causing acute neurological symptoms. (Courtney and Courtney, 2007)
- by Charlene Wilson
“A claim that a forthcoming exhibition featuring two human skeletons is “immoral” has been vehemently rejected. Voices From the Past: Life and Death in Medieval Dunfermline opens at Abbot House Heritage Centre in the town next month, featuring the human remains of two individuals.
The bones were unearthed during the early 1990s when new pipes were being laid at the eastern end of the property. Fife Council and Fife Cultural Trust loaned them to Abbot House Heritage Centre, where they remain in storage. The skeletons will be put on show from April 25 by the trustees of Abbot House, led by Abbot House director Dr Devon McHugh, as part of an exhibition that aims to demonstrate, through human osteology, the way in which people lived and died in medieval Dunfermline.
The move has been criticised by former honorary past president of Dunfermline Heritage Trust Sheila Pitcairn, who believes the exhibition constitutes “moral abuse”. She said: “It is not good practice to retain human remains. There is a very clear code of professional conduct relating to the treatment of human remains… and, as a past chair and honorary member of Dunfermline Heritage Trust, I object strongly to these skeletons being put on display.” Responding to Ms Pitcairn’s concerns, Fife Council archaeologist Douglas Speirs, who has been heavily involved in various excavations projects at Abbot House over the years, stressed the display of the skeletons would be carried out in a “thoughtful, ethical and professional” manner, and praised the work of Dr McHugh and the trustees” (read more).
***I’m unethical. I often have to force myself to go through the motions of ethicalness but I really do not understand living humans and their bizarre “moral” obsession with dead humans. I know 90% of you on here are hardcore ethical treatment people but…I just don’t get it.
(Source: The Courier)
The patterning language of bone