Bridges, Patricia S. Department of Anthropology, Queens College, Flushing, New York.
Larsen, Clark Spencer Department of Anthropology, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
Last reviewed:April 2021
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The study of skeletal remains from archeological sites by biological (or physical) anthropologists. Bioarcheology differs in several ways from traditional skeletal research (see illustration). Previous work focused on individual case studies (for example, individuals with identifiable diseases) or on typological analyses of cranial form. Bioarcheology looks at populations rather than individuals, often highlighting variation within groups as much as differences between them. In addition, it considers the interaction of biology with human culture and behavior, and the effects of the latter upon skeletal morphology or form. Technological advances in computers and methodology have opened up new fields of study, such as biomechanics and paleonutrition, while revolutionizing older interests, such as biological distance studies (a measure of genetic relatedness). Finally, bioarcheology, in part because of the specialized nature of some subfields and in part because of its biocultural approach, emphasizes collaboration with other anthropologists as well as researchers in other disciplines. See also: Anthropology; Archeology; Physical anthropology
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