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Reconciling Disease and the Presence of Infections on Human Skeletal Remains with Emerging Technology in Bioarchaeology

Author(s): Kirsten Verostick

Year: 2016

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Summary

With advancing technologies in recent years, numerous methodologies are used to identify disease and causes of infection in human skeletal remains. Use of ancient DNA (aDNA) and scanning electron microscopy aid in pinpointing diseases. In particular, ancient tuberculosis and treponemal disease are at the forefront of identification with these new techniques. Recent evaluation shows some of these methods still require refinement, such as the recent discovery of aDNA markers used to identified tuberculosis also representing other bacteria that are not disease causing.

Bioarchaeologists need to work with multiple lines of evidence in order to develop comprehensive ways of studying disease and infection in human skeletal remains. The human skeleton is a wealth of information, and the study of both individuals and populations can inform researchers on a multitude of levels, from diet and activity patterns to stress and human variation. Taking into consideration other subdisciplines of Anthropology, research and information from medical anthropology, primatology and human biology as suggested by Reitsema and McIlvaine 2014, can aid bioarchaeologists in further understanding of processes and formation of disease and infection, making linkages and refinements based on multiple lines of evidence


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Reconciling Disease and the Presence of Infections on Human Skeletal Remains with Emerging Technology in Bioarchaeology. Kirsten Verostick. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404669)


Keywords


Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America