Dr. John Verano of Tulane University wades into forensic anthropology and bioarchaeology. He discusses some of the realities of working with the recently deceased before switching gears to talk about a giant sacrifice site that he’s been working on in Peru. Plus, find out what mummies smell like.
Dr. Sara Becker of UC – Riverside studies the Tiwanaku culture of Lake Titicaca. She specializes in understanding hierarchy and labor patterns via physical activity markers on the bone. She combines modern ethnographic methods with archaeology and biological anthropology to understand ancient cultures.
The above figure illustrates how bone responds to stress. Below a certain threshold of strain, humans will lose bone. In the adapted state, bone mass will remain constant. Once sufficient loads are placed on bone, cells will respond by building bone. If the loads exceed the mechanical limits of the bone, fracture will occur.
Dr. Bill Billeck is the program manager for the National Museum of Natural History repatriation office at the Smithsonian. Dr. Billeck explains how repatriation works, what it’s like working with tribes, and shares some stories.
Juengst, Sara. (2018). Complexity and Power: A Bioarchaeological Analysis of Socioeconomic Change on the Copacabana Peninsula, 800 BC–AD 200. Bioarchaeology International. 2. 1-19. 10.5744/bi.2018.1013.
Juengst, Sara & Hutchinson, Dale & Chávez, Sergio. (2017). High altitude agriculture in the Titicaca basin (800 BCE-200 CE): Impacts on nutrition and disease load: High Altitude Agriculture in the Titicaca Basin. American Journal of Human Biology. 29. e22988. 10.1002/ajhb.22988.
Murphy, Melissa & Juengst, Sara. (2019). Patterns of trauma across Andean South America: New discoveries and advances in interpretation. International Journal of Paleopathology. 10.1016/j.ijpp.2019.09.004.
Juengst, Sara & Chávez, S. & Hutchinson, D. & Chávez, K.. (2015). Trauma in the Titicaca Basin, Bolivia (AD 1000-1450). International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. 10.1002/oa.2469.
Juengst, Sara & Chávez, Sergio. (2015). Three trepanned skulls from the Copacabana Peninsula in the Titicaca Basin, Bolivia (800 BC–AD 1000). International Journal of Paleopathology. 9. 10.1016/j.ijpp.2014.11.005.
Dr. Rachel Watkins of American University talks about the current state of race in biological anthropology. We discuss the importance of diversity and problems the field is currently facing. See below for a link to her article.
Dr. Levy talks about cold adaption in ancient and modern populations. She explains the three-part system that helps keep us warm: cultural adaptions, short-term changes in the body, and evolutionary changes to the body’s structures. Along the way, we discuss Bergmann’s Rule and Allen’s Rule. Both help to explain why groups living in certain climates have the proportions they do. Dr. Levy also shares her innovative methodology to help measure brown fat deposits that aid in non-shivering thermogenesis.