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.
Not a shiney page fan but this book sounds really interesting!ReplyDelete
It does seem like it would make for very interesting reading. (I know. You're in league with Amazon, aren't you? Coaxing unwary readers like me into all sorts of things.)ReplyDelete
Very interesting book. I'll have to point some of my friends whom I know would love this type of book.ReplyDelete
Sounds good! Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
Gotta read this one...just put it on request in my county library system and was pleased to see that no one has requested it ahead of me. Thanks for the "heads up."ReplyDelete
Ooo! This does sound interesting. I was curious about it when I first heard the title. Thanks for the great review. Another book to add to my wish list.ReplyDelete
I've always been interested in archaeology: Egypt, Ancient Greece, the Incas. I used to read fairly widely in this area, but this is the first book on the topic I've read in several years...and, of course, it raises questions about certain sites that I'd be interested in exploring further. :)ReplyDelete
In reference to Jill's comment about Amazon, I must admit to preferring my library! I don't need to own the book; I just want to borrow it. The library has been my best friend for years and provides such a varied menu of reading material!ReplyDelete
Looks like an interesting book. Did you hear about the "embracing" couple that was found buried (not sure how old they are) in Italy?ReplyDelete
I hope it does not reflectly poorly on me when I admit, I really love books on this topic. Hee.ReplyDelete
Going to check out the local library.
Thanks for the tip.
Danielle - Yes, I read about the embracing couple and that rather than separate them, they cut out the entire space! Here is a link to an article about it. It will be interesting to see what further tests determine!ReplyDelete
Orpheus - :) Well, obviously I see no poor reflection!
Would you believe me if I said that this book looks really yummy?ReplyDelete