, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 119-166

Bioarchaeology: The Lives and Lifestyles of Past People

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Abstract

Skeletons represent the most direct evidence of the biology of past populations, and their study provides insight into health and well-being, dietary history, lifestyle (activity), violence and trauma, ancestry, and demography. These areas help inform our understanding of a range of issues, such as the causes and consequences of adaptive shifts in the past (e.g., foraging to farming, sedentarism), the biological impact of invasion and colonization, differential access to food and other resources (e.g., by gender or status), and conflict and warfare. Central to bioarchaeological inquiry are the interaction between biology and behavior and the role of environment on health and lifestyle. Bioarchaeological analysis has traditionally focused on local settings. However, important perspective on general questions of human adaptation is possible both regionally and globally.