January 31, 2007

Odocoileus virginianus

These were wandering past my window yesterday. I guess they're girls, since they didn't have any horns. They also look different than deer in the south. They had much thicker coats and were shorter and squatter than the thin, lithe southern deer. It's kind of neat to recognize Bergmann's and Allen's rules in real life. Well, neat for me; probably not so much for non-physical anthropologists.

January 26, 2007

Buone Notizie!

It seems that I have a free place to stay while taking the free intensive seminar on funerary archaeology in Rome. I also get a free lunch and free coffee each day. This is pretty effing sweet. I should take courses in random languages in random European countries more often.

In case you missed it in my old blog, here's a google maps link to where I will be staying outside of Rome. Now it's just a matter of navigating the Italian bus system with my 140lbs of luggage. Well, that's the maximum amount of luggage I can bring. I hope to bring less, but you never know with all the books.

This means that after two weeks of the course, I can just stay in the apartment/lab complex and do my research. At least, I hope I can stay there. I plan to just unpack my stuff and... stay. Como se dice "squatters' rights" in italiano?

January 21, 2007

The Socratic Art

I got a random email last week from a young history teacher in Connecticut. She found, on the now-archaic webpage that I created as an undergrad, a couple of Greek quotations that I like. She emailed me because she's always liked the line attributed to Socrates in Plato's Apology: "The unexamined life is not worth living." She wanted to get it as a tattoo and thought that having it in the original Greek would look even better than the English translation. But since she doesn't know ancient Greek, she was concerned that she would end up with permanent skin art that any self-respecting philologist would mock her for. I checked Perseus to make sure that my quotation was correct, even though I remember copying it from the Apology when I read it. Since she still wasn't convinced (after all, who would trust an archaeologist in any philological matter?), I told her to go to her local university library, find the Loebs, and flip through the Apology until she found it.

Finally satisfied that she had the correct quotation, she went out and got the tattoo (click for a larger image). The astute philologist reading this will find one error... can you? (Don't worry, it's an easy fix.) I think the tattoo looks awesome. The artist did an excellent job with ancient Greek script. I wonder if I should get a tattoo of "Gnothi seauton" now. Or perhaps "Ne te quaesiveris extra," which is a little more obscure and in Latin rather than Greek. I've also always loved the sphenoid (you know, that cute little graphic in the upper left-hand corner) and could get that on my ankle. Thoughts?

January 20, 2007

Lethe, Vlog Starlet

My cat amuses me far, far too much sometimes. Last night, I discovered something new: her reaction to being given a raspberry (not the fruit kind). My poor, beleaguered cat. Sorry, it's kind of dark. But at least I figured out how to embed video in this thing.

January 17, 2007

È ufficiale!

I was just accepted to the seminar on funerary archaeology held by the Ecole Française de Rome the first two weeks of February. So I suppose it's official. I leave February 2 from Philadelphia for seven months in Rome. Of course, I now have less than three weeks to find housing for the duration of the seminar, which is being held fairly far outside of Rome.

January 15, 2007

With this ring...

Bryan just sent me this article from CNN about a discrimination lawsuit filed in California because a man wanted to take his wife's name upon marriage. They took their case to the ACLU because for a woman to change her name upon marriage is free, but for a man to change his name costs $300 (in addition to an appearance before a judge). Surprising to me was the news that six U.S. states have equal name-change processes for men and women: HI, IA, MA, NY, ND, and GA. Really, Georgia? Iowa? North Dakota?

The article also states that in 2001, 20% of college-educated women kept their own last names. This surprised me considering the number of women I've talked to in the past few years who firmly believe their name changes automatically when they file for a marriage license. I don't know the laws in every state, but in Virginia, there was either a signature block or a check box for if you wanted to change your last name. It does make it quite easy for a woman to change her name, but it is by no means automatic or obligatory. Just because you're married does not mean you immediately have a different name.

Anyway, it's nice to see that some people are pushing for equality in laws, even if it's only in California. I wonder how the baby-naming controversy is doing in D.C. Last I heard, many hospitals were giving out birth certificates with the father's last name, in spite of what the mother (or parents) wanted.

January 14, 2007

NYSE: Bronx Up, Battery Down

Patrick and I drove to Jersey this weekend to hang out with my mom and grandma. We escaped their god-awful old-person trip to Atlantic City to play the slots and took the bus into New York. Much public-transportation riding ensued (yay for NJ Transit bus 161 and the subway!).

We really only had time to see two things, Central Park and the American Museum of Natural History, on account of how freaking huge the latter was. Below are: a) a butterfly from the AMNH exhibit; b) the planets, to scale, in the AMNH; c) the castle in Central Park (yes, I do remember that it was used in the movie Stepmom starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon, I'm glad you asked); and d) my mom and grandma inspecting the asparagus at Corrado's.

And in my daily hair update, I was walking around the grocery store with my mom and grandma, and my mom said, "Kristina, when did you dye your hair darker?" I said, "This is my natural color, mom." My grandmother got into the conversation, insisting that my natural hair color is not this dark. I finally, after many years, grow out my natural hair color, and both my mom and my grandmother think it's fake. Weird. My mom continued, "Well, I like it lighter." Thanks, mom!

January 8, 2007

Pack Rat

I've started a list of what to pack for my 7 1/2 months in Rome, which span February through September. I always end up packing too much and schlepping something heavy and useless all over Europe every summer. So I'm soliciting advice from you. Name one thing you never regretted dragging with you on vacation/to college/when you moved, and name one thing you totally regretted.

January 7, 2007

Brand Spanking New

Although I am loath to do it, as you can see I am moving my blog to a hosting site. For over a decade, I have edited all of my web pages in straight HTML, eschewing the help of terrible programs like FrontPage. But since I'm leaving for Rome soon, I want a blog that's easy to update, and I want a blog on which it's easy for people to comment. So change your links to my blog... or don't. The old link will probably just redirect anyway. I hope this change encourages all of you to keep in touch with me while I'm struggling to learn about the culture and language of Italy and the culture and language of bioarchaeology while I research my dissertation.

January 3, 2007

Press, Praise, and PbO Featured in...

Powered by Osteons has been featured by:
  • Maria Godoy, an NPR science journalist who wrote that "Kristina Killgrove's blog, Powered by Osteons, is a fun read" in a footnote to her 27 Oct 2014 piece "Gladiator Gatorade?"
  • Gordon Rakita, in the December 2011 SAS Bulletin 34(4), as an example of a bioarchaeology blog actively communicating news about the field to the public.
  • Jason Antrosio, in his Anthropology Report post on favorite anthropology blogs, where Powered by Osteons was chosen as a top 10 anthropology blog by reader survey in December 2011.
  • Rosemary Joyce, on her blog Ancient Bodies, Ancient Lives, who linked to my crowdfunding efforts for the Roman DNA Project, which spilled over into PbO, and discussed my research in Where the Girls Are, Roman Edition in November 2011.
    has been cross-posted at:
    has been linked to by:
    and has been syndicated by the archaeological news site, Past Horizons:
    As of October 2012, Powered by Osteons boasts an average of 6,700 page views per week and 770 subscribers.

    January 2, 2007


    You can get in touch with me by email at poweredbyosteons@gmail.com, through a Twitter DM, and through the contact information at my professional website.

    January 1, 2007


    Drinking like a Roman
    When your life's passion is to study dead Romans, you often get asked for your "origin story," something that explains a long, abiding and, frankly, slightly creepy love for skeletons. If I were a superhero, my special power would be the ability to glance at a skull and give you that person's age, sex, and ancestry, and my superhero origin story would include radiation.

    I was 7 and participating in an ill-fated footrace when I fell and suffered a greenstick fracture to my left radius. It was beyond thrilling to get an x-ray of my arm, a little peek at the inner workings of my body, but most amazing was the doctor's question: "Do you want to know how tall you'll be when you grow up?" Predicting the future from bones - that is how you blow a 7-year-old's mind.

    Fast forward a few decades, and I still have not lost my amazement at the human body: how it grows and develops, how it remodels after trauma, how it holds clues to where we've been and what we've done in our lives. I've also not lost my love of ancient Rome, a civilization that was far ahead of its time in engineering and sanitation yet also one of the most socially stratified societies to have ever existed. Poring through Roman archaeology books in school, I always came back to the same question: What can the skeletons tell us and why isn't anyone studying them?

    I am trained as a classical bioarchaeologist, and therefore am one of the few scholars who has started to answer questions about the ancient Romans using their skeletons. My research has focused primarily on immigration to Rome and urban collapse at Gabii during the Imperial period (1st-4th centuries AD). This work blends anthropological theory, biochemical analysis, and classical archaeology to find out more about people rarely represented in the historical record of the Roman world: immigrants, women, children, and slaves.

    Currently, I am an assistant professor of biological anthropology at the University of West Florida.  This is my personal blog, however, and, as such, does not reflect the opinions of my employer, my sentient dust bunnies, or the growing collection of fake skulls on my bookshelf.

    My educational background includes degrees in Latin (BA, University of Virginia), Classical Archaeology (BA, University of Virginia; MA, UNC Chapel Hill), and Anthropology (MA, East Carolina University; PhD, UNC Chapel Hill). You can find out more about me and my work using the following links:

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