Bahn, Paul, ed. Written in Bones: How Human Remains Unlock the Secrets of the Dead. So many interesting facts are related in this book that it is difficult to decide which ones to use as examples.
The tomb of Lady Dai is particularly important in Chinese archaeology. Her tomb contained curtains, silk fabrics and garments, eating and drinking vessels, cosmetics, figurines, 30 baskets of food stuffs, three baskets of herbal medicines, philosophical texts, and records of 52 diseases and 283 prescriptions concerning various branches of herbal medicine.
Bog bodies are so well preserved because "Waterlogged peat contains little oxygen and, as a result, few of the microorganisms that promote decay." In fact, the acidity of the bog and its chemistry actually act as preservatives. Sphagnan, produced by sphagnum moss, extracts calcium from the body and also has a tanning effect. The remarkably preserved corpses recovered from the ponds and bogs of Northern Europe appear to have been sacrifices.
The Incan mummies discovered in the peaks of the Andes were also sacrifices. In 1999, an archeaological team discovered some of the best-preserved examples of frozen mummies of Incan sacrificial victims. Two children, a boy and a girl, and an adolescent girl were discovered--each showing signs of narcotics having been ingested. All were dressed in fine clothing, and the adolescent girl wore a white feather headdress.
Other interesting discoveries include the Lapedo Child, a "morphological hybrid"; although the lack of collagen in the bones meant no information about bone chemistry or DNA, the remains are estimated to be from 24,000 years ago. The burials in an Augustinian Friary in Hull reveal differences in burial practices from 1316-1540, the effects of plague years, and the first evidence of venerial syphilis.
There are too many to list. I enjoyed this book. My only complaints: 1) since the articles are written by different authors, the information detail varies, and 2) the pages are the shiny "art book" kind that cause a glare. More information in this post.
Nonfiction. Archaeology. 185 pages. 2002.