Using Skeletal Remains as a Proxy for Roman Lifestyles

The potential and problems with osteological reconstructions of health, diet, and stature in imperial Rome

Authored by: Kristina Killgrove

The Routledge Handbook of Diet and Nutrition in the Roman World

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9780815364344
eBook ISBN: 9781351107334
Adobe ISBN:


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Analysis of human skeletal remains is becoming increasingly common in classical bioarchaeology, particularly because of the way historians and demographers have begun to pair osteological and biochemical data with evidence from archaeology, epigraphy, and historical records. The field of bioarchaeology has been practised since the 1970s in both the US and the UK, so some geographical and temporal areas have been well studied and methods have been honed in order to answer questions as fully as possible. This is not the case in classical bioarchaeology, where the application of skeletal analysis to answer questions about the Greco-Roman world is much more recent. Skeletons and cemeteries are largely being studied piecemeal owing to vagaries in collections, funding, and personnel available for these sorts of analyses.

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