January 30, 2012

Teaching Skeletal Anatomy to Kids

The other day, I got an email from a colleague.  He'd agreed to coach his kid's elementary school Science Olympiad team in learning human skeletal anatomy.  The PDF he was given to teach from was terribly boring and included blurry pictures of bones.  What ideas did I have, he asked, to make learning anatomy fun for 2nd-5th graders?

I've never tried teaching anatomy to anyone under 12 (except to my toddler, who loves to tell me where her coccyx is and where my coc-seven is), so in addition to thinking up some teaching strategies, I put the question out to the BioAnthropology News group on Facebook and to a friend who teaches first grade science.  This is what we came up with:

Introductory Activities
Check eSkeletons for
a printable bony kid!
  • What does a skeleton look like?
    • Print the life-size skeletons from eSkeletons (child and/or adult anatomy).
    • Have each kid color one to hang in his/her room.
    • Discuss the functions of the bones - for example, legs are for walking, hands are for grasping, ribs are for protecting organs.
    • Label all the bones.
  • How does a skeleton work?
    • Bring in a plastic disarticulated skeleton.
    • Have kids put the skeleton back together.
    • Discuss paired bones, anatomical position, right versus left (i.e., that the skeleton's left is also your left), and how joints work.
Intermediate Activities
  • Labeling
    • Bring in a couple sets of washable markers.
    • Ask kids to wear shorts and short-sleeve shirts.
    • Pair them up and have them label each other:
      • Bones
      • Joints
      • Major landmarks for older kids - for example, the medial malleolus of the tibia forms the inner ankle.
    • Or, as the instructor, wear light-colored clothes and let the kids label your body (I have fond memories of Slim Goodbody...)
  • Root Words
    • Using Appendix 1 in Bass' Human Osteology: A Laboratory and Field Manual, teach some basic anatomical terms.
    • Directional: lateral/medial, superior/inferior, anterior/posterior.
    • Categories: condyle, boss, and malleolus are all large, rounded processes.
    • Neat words: odontoid process of C2 looks like a tooth; the coccyx is shaped like a cuckoo's beak; the linea aspera is a rough line (attachment for gluteus maximus, a major muscle that helps us walk).
    • Also see eSkeletons for word finds and crosswords, or make up your own.
  • Acronyms
    • Solicit their help in making up acronyms to learn bones.
    • I was taught "Some Lovers Try Positions That They Can't Handle" for the carpals, but you can make it PG for the kids.
Advanced Activities
  • Forensic Mysteries
    • Using a plastic disarticulated skeleton (or a print-out if necessary), create a forensic murder mystery
    • Use markers (on paper) or stickers/colored tape (on plastic) to stand for things like cut marks, projectile trauma from a bullet, and broken bones.
    • Sample scenario:
      • skeleton found with fractures to both distal ulnae
      • large wound in the skull
      • cut marks to the hip joints, shoulder joints, neck (C2-3)
      • = person was attacked from the front (ulna fractures are parry or defensive), then suffered blunt force trauma to the head, was dismembered
    • Can include clues to murderer too: lost ID/shoe/watch; trauma inflicted to victim's left side (by right-handed assailant).
    • Written work: have the students record the exact location of all the trauma, first by coloring in the location of the trauma on a diagram of a skeleton, and then by using proper anatomical terminology to describe the location - for example: sharp trauma inflicted to the left fourth metacarpal-phalangeal joint, perhaps to remove a wedding band.
  • Comparative Anatomy
    • Get some bones from your local butcher.  It's pretty easy (and often free) to get bones from non-choice cuts of meat - several of my former students got free pig joints and skulls just by asking.
    • Compare the animal anatomy with the human anatomy - what's the same, and what's different? Why?

Things to Do on Their Own/Additional Resources
  • Anatomy Arcade - This site is ad-supported, but there are some very neat interactive games like a skeleton jigsaw, a crossword puzzle, and whack-a-bone.
  • Anatomy Game - A bit more advanced than elementary school, but probably fun for high schoolers and undergrads.
  • Dem Bones - Book and music.
  • Google Body - Now called Zygote Body.  Explore layers of human anatomy.
  • Hannah Montana Bone Dance - Doesn't include all the bones, but is so lame it's circled back around to being cool.
  • Schoolhouse Rock - Similar to Dem Bones; not a lot of anatomy, but a basic overview.
  • Skeletons in the Closet - Board game that looks pretty fun.  Ages 7 and up.
  • 5-Layer Body Puzzle - Neat toy.  Ages 4 and up, but my 2.5-year-old loves it.  Comes in girl and boy versions.

Further Reading (More of my teaching-related blog posts)

If you have additional ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Thanks go out to Dana Russell, Sue Sheridan, Pat Shipman, Jill Rhodes, Gwen Robbins Schug, Jaime Ullinger, Jessica Goodsell, Alan Cross, and Arco Williams for a bunch of these ideas!

January 27, 2012

Roman Bioarchaeology Carnival XIII

Not a lot of new stuff this past fortnight, continuing what seems to be a trend.  From here on out, then, I'll plan to put up the carnival once a month, at the end of each month... unless news reports pick up (which they may do towards the summer when loads of people are in the field excavating).
Amphorae from Trieste
(via ArchaeoRivista)

  • ArchaeoRivista has two short posts on random Roman tombs discovered at Truccazzano and Trieste.  The former are simply reported as "probably Roman," but without proper dating until further study is carried out.  The latter include two adults and one child.  It's not clear to me what time period the Trieste skeletons are from, but archaeologists also found over 100 amphorae post-dating the 1st century AD.
  • This neat little game I found is Greek rather than Roman, but it's an interactive webpage from the British Museum in which you attempt to diagnose Thucydides' disease based on descriptions of his symptoms and the medical knowledge of the time.  See if you can better understand the 430-426 BC plague of Athens!
  • If you happen to be in Milan between February 23 and March 4, you can see the exhibit Cranioscopia, curated by Alberto Zanchetta, which looks like it's in conjunction with Zanchetta's forthcoming book "Frenologia della Vanitas: il Teschio nelle Arti Visive."  (Very nifty book cover!)  Seems like the exhibit involves books on skeletal anatomy from a variety of time periods.
  • Skeletal remains of at least two individuals have been uncovered at a construction site in Milton Keynes (England).  Archaeologists say that the bones are older than 70 years and therefore not of forensic interest.  The burial style, though, is similar to what they're calling "kist" burials (which I guess is British for "cist"?) dating to the 5th century (Late Roman) found at Wolverton in the 1980s.  The picture (below) shows that the burial is quite disturbed, with ribs up near the skull.  An adult mandible (with what looks like antemortem loss of the lower right molars) is evident, and it looks like the little pile of bones could be subadult (or they could be faunal - hard to tell from the tiny, blurry picture).
Possible Roman bones at Milton Keynes (via BBC)

January 22, 2012

Bones - Season 7, Episode 6 (Review)

Well, folks, I seem to have completely missed the fact that Bones was new last Thursday. (And by "last" I mean the 12th.)  It was the first new episode since early December, was supposed to air in mid-December, but was bumped to mid-January.  And the show is on hiatus again (it's a disjointed season because of Emily Deschanel's real-life pregnancy).  So, apologies for the oversight.  Here's your surely long-awaited review...

The Crack in the Code
Episode Summary

At the Washington Monument, a skull and spinal column are found at the base of a statue of Abraham Lincoln, on whom the words "Where is the rest of me?" are scrawled in human blood.  Based on blowfly eggs in the eye orbits, Hodgins puts time of death at 2 days prior.  Brennan notices something odd about the vertebral column: the vertebrae are out of order, yet all the associated ligaments have been reattached with a kind of string made out of human guts.  The killer is clearly leaving a message: one for the public and one for the Jeffersonian team.

Back at the lab, Brennan notes that the small skull and nuchal crest indicate the victim was a Caucasian female, and the incompletely erupted wisdom teeth put her in her early 20s.  Serological analysis shows that the blood at the scene, in addition to the victim's, comes from five other people, so Saroyan rushes a DNA analysis of it.

Booth finds videotape from the monument, but the killer used a laser pointer to wipe out the video.  Sweets thinks the killer is highly intelligent and very good at killing people.  They bring in Sam Sacks, a night janitor who has a raging nicotine addiction and history of crime.  He didn't do it, but he knows where the blind spot on the camera is (which never seems to come into play again).

Wendell and Hodgins try to figure out the code in the rearranged vertebrae, which start off with C1, T9, C2, C5, T1 (which has both transverse processes removed), T7, C4 (with the right transverse process removed), but they get nowhere, even though Hodgins' grandfather was a codebreaker under Admiral Nimitz.  Angela gets no hit in the missing persons database from the facial reconstruction, but Saroyan finds out that all five blood samples are from FBI field agents in the DC office.

Booth checks out the officers, but they are all alive and had all donated blood two weeks prior at an FBI blood drive.  He and Miss Julian get harassed by Ezra Krane, a reporter at the Washington Standard, who seems to know more than he should about the case.  After re-canvassing the scene, Booth finds a homemade laser pointer made out of an off-brand Altoids tin, a diode from an old DVD player, and a switch from a toaster.

Brennan decides to run a strontium isotope analysis on the victim and finds that she was from Denmark.  Wendell finds a particulate embedded in the anterior portion of the T4 vertebra, as well as hairline fractures on the neural arches and pitting on the vertebral body, which he and Brennan think are consistent with a high velocity injury.

Sweets and Booth go through Miss Julian's records of high-IQ people the FBI has arrested and zero in on Christopher Pelant, a socially-marginalized computer geek who once took down the Senate's website and the Department of Defense's network.  He was put on house arrest after multiple charges of wire and computer fraud.  Pelant's house, though, has no computers save an old one with vacuum tubes, and he's on house arrest.  His ankle monitor pings the company every 38 seconds.  Pelant calls himself a "hacktivist" and insists he broke into the DoD network in order to expose the lack of security in their system and that the company that set up the network got the contract through corrupt, shady dealings.

Back at the Jeffersonian, Hodgins and Angela finally figure out the code in the vertebrae.  By reducing the vertebrae to numbers (and then reversing the string, I guess?), they get 20166 (571) 418-5247 3117 C 353 5291 - which is a zip code, phone number, address of the Justice Department on C street, room number, and pass code.  When Booth and Sweets check out the location, they find the rest of the victim's body in addition to a box of files about the FBI's CI (confidential informants).

The bones from the Justice Department show pitting and microfractures to the posterior of the ribs and the sternum - basically, damage to the front and the back.  Hodgins notes that the particulate had camphor residue on it, which may have been from fireworks, but his experiment with Wendell - in which they load a wetsuit with meat - backfires.  Booth meanwhile tracks down Sophia Berman, head of IT at a local hospital, whose father committed suicide in front of her because he was defrauded by Daniel Kassudo, one of the FBI's CIs.  She puts Booth and Sweets back on the trail of Ezra Krane, the reporter.

Brennan's contacting of the Danish embassy yields a hit for a missing person: Inger Johannsen, who was housesitting in the area.  Booth and Sweets check out the house and find the jacuzzi full of blood and offal, with the words "This Won't Stop" written on the side of the pool.  Based on the remains in the jacuzzi, the murder occurred Sunday night.  Miss Julian tells Booth to bring in Ezra Krane for questioning, and he has no alibis for the time of the murder or the placement of the remains in the monument.

Angela decides to scan Inger's bones to find out more about cause of death.  After scanning the images, her computer program computes trajectories of the projectile consistent with a gunshot, but not with a bullet.  Soon, Angela's computer notes "System Failure", and a bunch of stuff catches fire.  The weapon, Hodgins finds out, is similar to a bang stick, which divers use to ward off sharks.  Angela's computer, on the other hand, was brought down by malware that shut off all the fans, causing her computer to overheat and catch fire.  Since Angela hadn't downloaded anything to her computer, only uploaded it, she thinks that the virus may have been in the bones somehow.  Wendell didn't find any computer chips, but Brennan brushes the edge of the ribs with edicol dye and notices a fractal pattern etched into them.  The Jeffersonian team goes back to suspecting Pelant, a computer genius who doesn't need a computer to bring down $1 million worth of computers.

Booth and Saroyan are called to the scene of another murder: a victim hanging upside down from a flag pole.  Powder burns at the base of the skull are consistent with a bang stick.  The victim's wallet IDs him as Ezra Krane, and he's been dead under 4 hours.  Booth instructs that the body be brought to the Jeffersonian, but the coroner's van with Metro PD escort was diverted to the Medical Examiner's Office, where the body was supposed to be transferred to DC Memorial Hospital, where there were records waiting noting the autopsy was complete and infectious tissue was found.  Once autopsies are complete and there's infectious tissue, Saroyan explains, the body is cremated.  So Wendell gets stuck sifting through cremains for clues, while Hodgins finds out from a swab at the scene that there was thallium dioxide in the skull wound, likely from an old vacuum tube.

Booth and Sweets bring Pelant in to the FBI for questioning.  He admits to the murder and notes that his fractal bone program was not a virus but a worm.  There's no evidence, though, tying Pelant to the crime - his ankle monitor shows that he was at home at all times.  The episode ends with Pelant back at home, clearly planning his next move - that seems to involve Booth and Brennan - and our heroes finding a skeleton of a house formerly owned by a criminal.

Bad Things - So Many Bad Things - Wrong with This Episode
  • So, the forensics this week weren't horribly bad, but the police work was terrible and the computer parts hysterical.  Let's start with forensics...
    • How does one reattach all the vertebral ligaments in a dead body?
    • The size of the skull and the nuchal crest alone cannot give anyone an ancestry estimation of Caucasian.
    • Sr isotopes are not some magic bone-GPS device.  They cannot tell you that someone came specifically from Denmark.
    • As usual, the radius and ulna are switched from standard anatomical position in the lab.
  • The police work is... odd.  
    • A person confesses to a murder, and the FBI can't do anything to him?  Not even, like, make a cop watch his house for when he escapes?
    • Most annoyingly, Pelant is billed as an evil computer genius.  And yet thinks that no jury would believe he could get around his ankle monitor?  Seriously?  The ankle monitor is his only alibi.  Freaking House got around his ankle monitor in one of the first episodes of the season, and he's just an evil doctor genius.
  • And for the computer part, I spoke with my very own resident computer genius (otherwise known as my husband), who laughed at the following ridiculous bits:
    • A fractal etched into bone sounds pretty snazzy, but this would not harm any computer in existence.  There is no way that a picture of something could magically form a virus or worm and harm a computer (unless the picture itself, that is, the .jpg file or whatever, was corrupted).  But Angela's taking a picture/scan of bones could not infect her computer.
    • Computers don't catch fire if they overheat.  A processor might catch fire, but microprocessors are very, very small and make very, very little fires for a second or two before melting.  There's no way Angela's computer would have been set ablaze (even if the whole fractal-in-bone thing were plausible).
    • He did like the idea of MacGyvering a laser pointer and suggested the Bones writers used the first google hit for "homemade laser pointer."  I want to know why Pelant couldn't just, you know, order a laser pointer from Amazon.  I think felons can still have laser pointers.
    • And he pointed out that the best way of getting around an ankle monitor is to have it affixed to your prosthetic leg. :)
    • Also, I learned that "hacktivist" is a real word.
  • I always like conspiracy-theory-Hodgins.  This episode: the Vatican, John Wilkes Booth, and Admiral Nimitz.
  • Brennan: "When the Dani of New Guinea defeated the Umumi(?) tribesmen, the Dani valued the huts of their vanquished enemies as a symbol of their mightiness."
  • Brennan: "I don't know anyone smarter than I am."  (And yet she then talks about "primitive hunters" - I know some ANTH 101 students smarter than that, Brennan.)
  • Sweets: "You did it, but you couldn't have done it.  That's quantum indeterminacy."  (Husband: It is not.  It's not even a proper paradox, although it's closer to a paradox than to quantum indeterminacy.)
  • Pelant: "Trying to make the system secure, we make it more complex; but the more complex we made it, the more insecure we really are."
Forensic Mystery - A.  I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for serial killers, especially the "clever" ones.  This episode was chock full of interesting tidbits, and everyone had something to do. Sure, the writers threw many more red herrings than necessary, but I'll allow it.

Forensic Solution - B-.  Points deducted for handwaving about Sr isotopes and Caucasian ancestry.

Drama - B+.  There was too much going on most of the time for any drama to kick in, until the end when it's revealed that Pelant is setting his sights on Booth and Brennan next.  But points were taken off here because the FBI is being stupid for not monitoring Pelant, so it's their own fault if Booth gets in trouble.  

Let's hope the rest of the season includes more of this evil-genius-computer-hacktivist.  I'd love to mock some more ridiculous computer nonsense.  In the meantime, you'll find me in the bioarchaeology lab, carving a Mandelbrot into a manubrium.

January 20, 2012

Lead Poisoning in Rome - The Skeletal Evidence

A friend alerted me to an IO9 post, "The First Artificial Sweetener Poisoned Lots of Romans."  It's a (very) brief look at some of the uses of lead (Pb) in the Roman world, including the hoary hypothesis that rampant lead poisoning led to the downfall of Rome - you know, along with gonorrhea, Christianity, slavery, and the kitchen sink.

Lead pipes from a Roman bath
(Credit: Ad Meskens / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0)
The fact the Romans loved their lead isn't in question.  We have plenty of textual and archaeological sources that inform us of the use of lead - as cosmetics, ballistics, sarcophagi, pipes, jewelry, curse tablets, utensils and cooking pots, and, of course sapa and defrutum (wine boiled down in lead pots) - but what almost all stories about the use of lead in ancient Rome miss is the osteological evidence.

But let's start with some contemporary medical knowledge.  Metabolic disorders can be caused by a lack of nutrients - a lack of vitamin C gives you scurvy, and a lack of vitamin D gives you rickets - but they can also be caused by an abundance of something, like too much fluoride, too much mercury, too much arsenic, or too much lead.

Lead is a heavy metal, one that isn't needed by the human body, unlike vitamins C or D.  This element is found in the environment naturally, so we do expect to find some amount of lead in the skeleton of every person, ancient or modern.  But, because of the physical properties of lead - it can be made into hard, sharp things - people have been using it for millennia and thus have been exposed to heavy metal toxicity for millennia as well. The dangers of lead actually weren't well known until the second half of the 20th century, which was when lead was taken out of things like paint and gasoline.

The main problem with lead - the reason that it's toxic - is that it interferes with normal enzyme reactions within the human body.  Lead can actually mimic other metals that are essential to biological functioning.  But since lead doesn't work the same way as those metals, the enzymatic reactions that depend on things like calcium, iron, and zinc are disrupted.  The most damaging enzymatic reaction that lead affects is the production of hemoglobin, or red blood cell production, which can cause anemia.  So doctors in modern times often find anemia in a person with lead poisoning.  Lead is also particularly problematic because it stays in the body for a very long time once it's absorbed, inhaled, or ingested.  Most of it gets deposited in the bones and teeth.  Lead can be removed from the body, excreted through the kidneys and urine, but it's a very slow process without modern chelation therapy.

Map of  Imperial Rome and Suburbs
(Map by K. Killgrove and P. Reynolds, 2013.)
In modern society, lead poisoning is diagnosed through a blood test to determine the level of lead in the body.  We don't have blood in ancient remains, of course, so we have to investigate lead through the levels we can measure in bone and enamel.  As far as I know, the first and only study to actually measure levels of lead in skeletons from Rome is the one that involved my samples from the two cemeteries of Casal Bertone and Castellaccio Europarco (1st-3rd c AD).*  The analysis was led by Janet Montgomery, now at Durham University, and also involved around 200 samples from Britain from the Neolithic to the Late Medieval periods (see below, Montgomery et al. 2010).

Some of the data from that article is below.  The Romans are there in the middle.  What you can see is that there are fairly low levels of lead in the pre-Roman periods in Britain (Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age) and the levels are lower in the post-fall of the Roman Empire (after 5th c AD).  So what do those numbers mean on a scale of Normal to Lead Poisoned?  Well, the modern recommendation by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control is that children should not have more than 1 mg/kg of lead in their bones (or 10 ug/dL measured in blood).  Back to the chart, where I've inserted a bright orange line at 1 mg/kg, and no one in the pre-Roman period is getting poisoned. The Imperial period is pretty special - we've got a person with lead levels over 20 mg/kg, which is 20 times higher than modern recommendations!  In fact, this level is two times higher than the level the WHO considers "very severe lead poisoning."

Lead concentration from skeletons from Britain and Rome.
(Raw data from Montgomery et al. 2010, Tables 11.2, 11.3, 11.4.)

The chart also shows the median human lead concentrations that I calculated for these groups.  You can see a spike during the Roman period, and then median values drop in Britain. The post-Roman data can be broken down further into just post-Roman rule (5th-7th c AD, with a median of 0.39 mg/kg), early Medieval (8th-11th c AD, with a median of 1.93 mg/kg), and late Medieval (median of 4.69 mg/kg) (Montgomery et al. 2010, Table 11.4). The later Medieval period therefore shows an even greater use of lead than Imperial Rome, at least for these samples.

Adverse effects of excess lead
(Credit: Madhero88 / WikimediaCommons / CC-BY-3.0)
It's not yet clear what the data mean, though, other than that some people likely had lead poisoning and others didn't.  The sample size is fairly small, and more importantly, I don't know where in Rome people were living.  That is, if the people buried at Casal Bertone and Castellaccio Europarco were living in an industrial area or were metalworkers, then they were more at risk for high levels of lead than were people not living in those areas and not doing those jobs.  What is clear, though, is that lead poisoning is not something you'd want to have.  People with very severe lead poisoning tend to have major neurological changes - brain swelling leading to seizures and headaches, aggressive behavior, loss of short-term memory, and slurred speech - and a host of other problems, like anemia and constipation.

Did lead poisoning cause the fall of the Roman Empire?  Probably not.  Yes, there was increased lead production in the Roman Empire, which we know from histories, ecological sources (like ice cores from Greenland and peat bogs in Europe), artifacts, and now skeletons.  But the data - few as they are - simply don't support a conclusion of high lead concentration in the entire population.  More research of this sort is needed, of course, to examine the potential effects that anthropogenic lead had on the population of Rome and the Empire.  Fortunately, more will be forthcoming from Gabii as I start biochemical analyses of those skeletons this year, so stay tuned!


* Aufderheide and colleagues (cited below) did test 20 skeletons from Italy, including a few from the greater Rome area.  However, this was not an in-depth study, in that the skeletons were from various places.  They further note that they could not control for lead diagenesis, which may (or may not) have thrown off their measurements.  Twenty years later, the technology for identifying lead concentration in skeletons is greatly improved.  Aufderheide and colleagues found that skeletons from the Roman period (by which they mean the Imperial period) had much higher lead levels than in the previous centuries, which is consistent with our study and the understanding that lead working increased in this time period.

Further Reading:
This post was chosen as an Editor's Selection for ResearchBlogging.orgReferences:

A. Aufderheide, G. Rapp, L. Wittmers, J. Wallgren, R. Macchiarelli, G. Fornaciari, F. Mallegni, & R. Corruccini (1992). Lead exposure in Italy: 800 BC-700 AD. International Journal of Anthropology, 7 (2), 9-15 DOI: 10.1007/BF02444992.

J. Montgomery, J. Evans, S. Chenery, V. Pashley, & K. Killgrove (2010). 'Gleaming, white, and deadly': using lead to track human exposure and geographic origins in the Roman period in Britain. Roman Diasporas, Journal of Roman Archaeology, Suppl 78, 199-226.

C. Roberts and K. Manchester. 2007. The Archaeology of Disease. Cornell University Press.

T. Waldron.  2009.  Palaeopathology.  Cambridge University Press.


January 19, 2012

A Brief History of Bioarchaeology - Part I: America

Given that the subject matter of many biological anthropologists is the human skeleton, it is not surprising that ethical concerns have arisen over the years about bioarchaeological research in particular.  Images of bioarchaeologists as graverobbers, bent on the desecration of places of eternal rest, are not uncommon, and laws concerning the treatment of human skeletons have only arisen in the past few decades.  As part of my Human Osteology and Bioarchaeology courses, I usually give a lecture that summarizes the history of bioarchaeological practice and ethics in the United States.  It's long been a goal of mine to learn more about the ethics of skeletal research around the world, so Part I and Part II will cover places that I have worked - America and Italy, respectively - with plans to learn more and write more about other countries this spring.

In the beginning...

Columbus meets the Taino
Rum Cay, Bahamas.  1492.  Columbus and his men sailed the ocean blue and ran aground on an island full of people unknown to Europeans.  The Arawaks took pity on their strange guests, giving them food and water.  Columbus thought they were a generous people, surprisingly so considering their lack of possessions.  Their language lacked a word for war.  From this chance meeting, the myth of the Noble Redman was born.  Shortly after Columbus' arrival, the Caribs came from the south and turned the Europeans' ideal of the peaceful Indian on its head: the Caribs were warlike, capturing women and slaughtering men.  They were cannibals.  It was obvious to Columbus that there were Good Indians and there were Bad Indians.  This dichotomy, brought back to Spain by Columbus, allowed Ferdinand and Isabella to rationalize the beginning of the New World slave trade: the Caribs were clearly un-saveable, not potential vassals or converts to Christianity.  It did not occur to anyone that the Caribs and Arawaks had different approaches to European colonization.  The simplistic Good/Bad Indian dichotomy collapsed the variation in the Native peoples of the New World and overlooked the intricacies of Native American life for centuries. [1]

Colonialism, Independence, and Native Americans

Boston Tea Party (credit: Library of Congress)
Fast-forward two and a half centuries, and the American colonists had adopted the Native American as a symbol of their revolt against the British crown.  Famously, in 1773, hundreds of men dressed like Indians hurled thousands of pounds of tea into Boston Harbor to protest the tea tax of George III. In 1774 and 1775, Paul Revere produced engravings that showed colonists dressed as Indians being oppressed by the British.  During the Revolution, the word "American" came to be used for all inhabitants of the area, not just the Indians, producing a sense of nationhood not present before.  Native Americans became a powerful totem for representing the colonists' aims of independence.  Yet there wasn't independence for everyone in America.  In the Declaration of Independence, our founding fathers claimed that George III "has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions."  In listing the outrages of the British, it was expedient to claim that George III incited Indians to make war on the colonists.

After the Revolution, George Washington encouraged people to come to America and to assimilate, and he specifically singled out the Native Americans as a group that needed to give up their traditional hunting grounds and take up farming.  Thomas Jefferson also favored assimilation, as he hoped to "free" the native from his savage background - the hunter/warrior culture, the tribal form of organization, pagan religious views, and communal land ownership - so that he could participate in national prosperity.  In 1808, Jefferson specifically invited Native Americans to unite with the newfound Americans as one people.  Jefferson saw himself as a father-figure to the Native Americans, who were, he wrote, "in body and mind equal to the white man."  He was disappointed when his "progeny" clung to their old ways.

Trail of Tears, painting by R. Lindneux
When America declared war on Great Britain in 1812, many native groups took the British side, pissing off the Americans.  Of course, the idea of manifest destiny was too great for colonists to resist.  Although James Monroe wanted to work with the Native Americans and have them voluntarily settle west of the Mississippi in 1824, the natives didn't want to leave their homes.  The 1830 Indian Removal Act was supposedly a voluntary swap - of land in the east for land in the west - and there was no authorization of use of force.  And yet the remaining Native Americans in the South were rounded up, most famously the Cherokee in 1838, and forcibly moved along the Trail of Tears, on which nearly half of the Cherokee people died. [2]

Resurrectionists and Early Skull Science

Unlike most politicians of the day, Thomas Jefferson was truly interested in the lives of the Native Americans.  His Notes on the State of Virginia show how well-versed he was in their culture - he even attempted to analyze some of their languages, claiming a linguistic affiliation with Asian cultures.  But TJ was more of an observer from afar - he took an etic perspective, not having met too many Native Americans in his life.  And although Jefferson amassed Native paraphernalia and excavated a burial mound (quite literally in the neighborhood I grew up in), he didn't collect bodies.

Mississippian skull pulled from a mound
(from Morton's Crania Americana)
Skull collecting began with a vengeance in the 1830s with Samuel Morton.  Morton wanted to teach the anatomy of race and intelligence to his students, but he didn't have a lot of skulls at his disposal and realized he needed a collection.  Demand for human specimens far outweighed the legal supply - which consisted of executed criminals - and doctors began turning to bodysnatchers or, as they were delightfully known, resurrectionists to procure skeletons for them.  Although 19th century resurrectionists would willingly dig up Euroamericans, it was far and away easier to dig up African Americans and Native Americans, who were often buried in graveyards for the poor.  Morton managed to get some skulls from archaeological digs, but he didn't want ancient Native Americans.  Eventually, as smallpox and other epidemics continued to decimate the Native population, Morton was able to buy plenty of skulls on the growing skull market.  He used over 1,000 to form his so-called cranial library, which was the most comprehensive (and diverse) in the world at the time.  By 1842, Morton was expounding on the character traits of the Native Americans that he found in their skulls: they were a savage people with peculiar and eccentric moral constitution.  Morton's seemingly scientific, objective studies showed that whites were superior to everyone else, that blacks only flourished in servitude, and that Indians needed freedom or they would perish.

A decade later, a lawyer-turned-ethnologist named Lewis Henry Morgan published a treatise on the Iroquois in New York state after having observed them for several years.  His was the first systematic attempt to collect ethnographic data on a nationwide scale.  Yet in compiling and comparing his data from around the world, in 1877, Morgan famously arranged groups throughout time and space into just three categories - savages, barbarians, and civilized people - which he conceived of as a developmental ladder.  The savages still used a bow and arrow, while barbarians had developed ceramic technology, and civilizations had alphabets and written history.  This theory of social evolution became the backbone for late 19th century anthropology, which allowed museums and universities to classify the artifacts and skeletons they had in their collections.

Collection of skulls from around the world, c.
(Mutter Museum, Philadelphia)
These collections were created as early as the 1850s, with the founding of the Smithsonian through a grant from James Smithson, a Brit who never set foot in the New World.  Seeing that there were no collections of natural history of America, Smithson and then others jumped at the chance to give money to understand America better.  Not to be outdone, George Peabody endowed a museum at Harvard and at Yale.  The American Museum of Natural History was established in New York in 1869.  And the Field Museum in Chicago came a bit later, in 1893.  All of these museums began buying up natural history collections from smaller museums, which included thousands of birds, mammals, fish, and reptiles indigenous to the Americas.  However, there were still very few Native American skeletons in these collections.

Although skull collecting was a hobby of natural historians, around the end of the 19th century, it became a cottage industry, especially on the frontiers of America.  It was best to have reliable documentation, including the individual's tribe, cause of death, level of intelligence (IQ), and personality traits because these data helped people like Morton correlate personality and intelligence with bony traits of the skull.  Scholars like Morton and Louis Agassiz called on the American government for help; Agassiz wrote to the Secretary of War saying, "Let me have the bodies of some Indians.  I should like one or two handsome fellows entire and the heads of two or three more" (quoted in Thomas 2000, p. 57).  Government officials like the Surgeon General complied, ordering medical officers to collect and forward "all specimens of morbid anatomy, surgical or medical, which may be regarded as valuable" (ibid.).

At the Sand Creek Massacre, 1875
drawing by Cheyenne artist Howling Wolf
In 1864, for example, there was tension between white settlers in Colorado and the local Cheyenne indians. A minister and Civil War hero, John Chivington, led a regiment of volunteers in November of that year to the Cheyenne villages of Black Kettle and White Antelope in Sand Creek.  He told his soldiers that he wanted scalps and wanted to be wading in gore.  Ignoring the American flag that flew over Black Kettle's lodge, Chivington and his men slaughtered, wounded, and mutilated hundreds of Cheyenne men, women, and children.  One volunteer even castrated White Antelope, even though he had been given a peace medal by Abraham Lincoln, which he wore at all times.  As Native Americans were being confined to reservations and hunted down, the bones of their dead were being systematically gathered up.  Many of the Cheyenne dead were defleshed and shipped to the newly founded Army Medical Museum. [3]

Boas' Bodies

Franz Boas, c. 1915 (credit)
In the 1880s, Franz Boas immigrated from Germany.  Although he's known as the father of modern American anthropology, Boas has a bit of a checkered past when it comes to body collection.  As a surveyor employed by the British government in British Columbia, Boas was tasked with surveying the culture of the Native tribes there.  He used this trip to build up a personal collection of Northwest Coast native skulls, which he carefully documented and sold - $5 would get you a skull, and $20 would get you a whole skeleton.  Boas wasn't particularly good at finding specimens, though, and enlisted the help of better graverobbers.  He found a couple of brothers who claimed to have over 75 skulls of the Cowichan tribes.  Boas bought these and asked the Sutton brothers to find him more.  The Cowichan found out about this deal, though, and obtained a warrant to search the Suttons' business.  Boas, however, always thinking, shipped the bones under false invoices to New York.  In sum, he had around 200 crania.  When Boas became a professor at Clark University in Massachusetts, his skull collection came with him.  It was exhibited at the World's Fair in 1893, but eventually the majority of the skulls went to the American Museum of Natural History.

Minik Wallace, in customary dress (left)
and in New York (right) (credit)
It was also quite fashionable at the end of the 19th century to collect live specimens as well, particularly Inuit (Eskimos), who were thought to be living fossils of the Ice Age, trapped in a stage of savagery.  To his credit, Boas didn't think that Morgan's savagery/barbarism/civilization schema was very good and wanted to devise a better explanation of the diversity of cultures around the world.  He wrote to the arctic explorer Robert Peary and asked him to bring back one specimen from Greenland the next time he was there.  In 1897, Peary sailed into New York harbor with not one but six Eskimos.  They became instant celebrities, and 30,000 New Yorkers paid 25 cents a piece just to see them.  Boas arranged for the Inuit to live at the American Museum of Natural History for a year so that he could study them ethnographically.  Not long after they arrived, though, all six Inuit contracted pneumonia.  Eight months after their arrival, four were dead of tuberculosis, one made it back to Greenland, and one - an orphaned boy named Minik - remained in New York.

Minik, along with Boas and museum staff, went to Central Park in 1898 to bury Minik's father, who had succumbed to TB.  The staff followed the Inuit custom of laying out the body; and yet it wasn't actually a body.  They had faked it from a tree trunk.  Minik's father was actually autopsied, and his bones were cleaned and stored at the AMNH.  When he was 15, Minik found out about this ruse from a newspaper.  He asked for the return of his father's bones, but the AMNH would not comply.  Boas was asked by reporters if he faked the burial, and he fessed up to it.  When pressed as to why the museum had any right to the bones, Boas replied, "Oh, that was perfectly legitimate.  There was no one to bury the body, and the museum has as good a right to it as any other institution authorized to claim bodies" (quoted in Thomas 2000, p. 83).

The remains of Minik's father were actually returned to the Greenland Eskimo - in 1992.  The Eskimo didn't want the bones, though.  Their tradition said that the bones of the dead are to be reviled and not venerated, that bodies should be disposed of as soon as possible and never spoken of again. [4]

The Civil Rights Movement Ignites Ethical Discussions

In the early part of the 20th century, Native Americans had little power to stop Euroamericans' desire to study their cultures, in spite of legislation like the Indian Reorganization Act, passed in 1934, which granted Indians the power to operate as tribal entities and restored many of their rights, including their land.

One of the turning points in the archaeology of Native Americans came in 1971, at an excavation in Welch, Minnesota.  For five weeks, archaeologists and students toiled in the dirt, painstakingly documenting everything they found.  Towards the end of the field season, a group of Native Americans showed up, representing a new protest group called the American Indian Movement.  They confiscated field equipment, backfilled trenches, and burned field notebooks.  They were deeply offended that archaeologists were disturbing the graves of their ancestors and would not allow more digging.  The archaeologists didn't understand - they were trying to preserve Indian culture, not destroy it.  They didn't think it was disrespectful to dig up Indian skeletons.

Vine Deloria, Jr. (credit)
This attack didn't come out of left field - it resulted from Native Americans' being excited by Vine Deloria's 1969 book called Custer Died for Your Sins: an Indian Manifesto and the Civil Rights Movement.  Deloria, in no uncertain terms, questioned how anthropologists became custodians of the Native American past and how they had any claims to truth.  It was the anthropologists who perpetuated myths and stereotypes about Native Americans, and Deloria noted that anthropologists felt that "the only good Indians were the dead ones."

The Indians in AIM demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the federal government and their lack of representation.  They showed that, although many people thought the Noble Savage was dead and gone, Native Americans were still very much alive.  The 1971 AIM protest triggered a nationwide dialogue over whether archaeologists should dig up dead Indians.  In the late 18th century, Thomas Jefferson wrote that the dead have no rights, and this view has been largely carried into the 20th century, with physical anthropologists like Christy Turner (1986) writing, "no living culture, religion, interest groups, or biological population has any moral or legal right to the exclusive use or regulation of ancient human skeletons since all humans are members of a single species."  Ancient human skeletons therefore belong to everyone because they are the product of unrepeatable evolutionary events.

Walter Echo-Hawk (credit)
Throughout the 70s and 80s, Native Americans became more vocal about the desecration of their lands, particularly the graves.  As Walter Echo-Hawk has been famously quoted as saying, "If you desecrate a white grave, you wind up sitting in prison. But desecrate an Indian grave, you get a PhD."  Native Americans declared that their concern for the dead must override scientific objectives.  Many archaeologists countered with the assumption that Deloria and others simply needed to be educated; that if they understood what archaeologists discovered about their histories, they would stop attempting to destroy scholarship and science.  But it was clear that research and reburial issues raised by Deloria and others would not go away.  Several museums proactively sought to cull their collections for culturally inappropriate material and return it to Native American tribes.  In addition, several position statements were written in the 1980s by archaeological and historical organizations about the treatment of human skeletal remains and grave goods:
  • 1986 - the Society of American Archaeologists put out their Statement Concerning the Treatment of Human Remains, which notes that archaeologists acknowledge and respect the diversity of beliefs about the past and material remains, but they are committed to understanding and communicating the cultural heritage of humanity.  In essence, the SAA toed the line, advocating for scientific interests in human remains but also recognizing traditional cultural interests as well.  The SAA, though, was opposed to indiscriminate reburial.
  • 1988 - the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation put out a Policy Statement Regarding Treatment of Human Remains and Grave Goods, whose six principles said that human remains should be left alone unless excavation was necessary, that disinterment should be respectful, and that material should be reburied after scientific study unless it is of great scientific value.
  • 1989 - at the World Archaeological Congress, the Vermillion Accord was adopted, which advocated respect for the remains of the dead, respect for the wishes of the dead concerning disposition, respect for the wishes of the community and relatives, but also respect for the scientific value of human remains.  Disposition of remains should be decided on a case-by-case basis, with acknowledgment of the concerns of various ethnic groups.
By the mid to late 1980s, archaeologists were proactively trying to come to a resolution with Native American groups about the disposition of skeletal remains and grave goods in museum collections and on archaeological excavations. [5]

NAGPRA as a Double-Edged Sword

The first federal repatriation bill was introduced in the Senate in October of 1986, just a few months after the SAA's statement on the treatment of human remains was published.  Although this bill wasn't signed into law, the 101st Congress in 1990 promulgated two bills that specifically targeted federal agencies and federally-funded museums other than the Smithsonian and contained repatriation provisions governing the excavation of Native American burials on federal and tribal lands.  In the House, the Native American Grave and Burial Protection Act and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act were both put forward by Representative Morris Udall (D - AZ), and the Senate considered proposals from John McCain (R - AZ) and Daniel Inouye (D - HI).  Ultimately, it was the latter Udall bill that passed, becoming NAGPRA when it was signed into law by George H.W. Bush in November of 1990.

NAGPRA report cover (credit)
NAGPRA covers some basic areas of concern: rather than extending special rights to Native Americans, which would violate the 14th Amendment, the law awarded equal protection of property rights already extended to other Americans.  In essence, NAGPRA provided for the following: 1) consultation with Native American groups about graves on tribal lands; 2) creation of an inventory of Native American human remains and associated grave goods by all museums and universities; 3) allowance that federally recognized Native groups could request the return of these remains; and 4) a mandate for continued interaction between archaeologists and tribal representatives.

Each action taken under NAGPRA requires a choice: are the materials in question culturally affiliated or culturally unaffiliated?  Does the preponderance of the evidence place the material into one category or another?  This question is often difficult to answer, though, partly because of the political nature of defining Native American groups - not all tribes are federally recognized.

Since the determination of cultural affiliation is the cornerstone of NAGPRA, archaeologists are often put in the complicated position of assigning identities to the remains of the past using political definitions of the present, a problem analogous to attempting to identify "race" in the past.  Cultural affiliation generally comes down to identification of a present-day group and an identifiable earlier group plus a relationship of shared identity.  The present-day group is more or less easy to define: one of 565 federally-recognized tribes.  The earlier group presents a problem, though.  The SAA has argued that this means a social entity that is analogous to a modern tribe in terms of its composition and scale, which is easiest to demonstrate with historical remains or sometimes with oral histories.  But biological remains can be used to show relationships between past and contemporary Native Americans, such as through DNA analysis.  However, people who are biologically dissimilar could still have a shared group identity.  In practice, linking past and present Native Americans is often done through a matrix of bio-archaeological remains - pottery, land use, burial style, bones - and oral or written histories. [6]

NAGPRA, Race, and Kennewick Man

Probably the best known case under NAGPRA is the discovery of Kennewick Man, a skeleton that came to light in 1996 when a couple teenagers found it eroding out of the banks of the Columbia River near Kennewick, Washington.  Upon the skeleton's discovery, the county coroner was called in, but since it was just a skull, the coroner called local forensic anthropologist James Chatters to look at it.

Projectile in K-Man's os coxae
(credit: Seattle Times)
Chatters noted a number of what he called Caucasoid features, and he saw from the color of the bone that it was quite old.  He figured it must have been a Euroamerican settler from hundreds of years ago.  Chatters' initial forensic conclusion was that this person was male, 40-55 years old, about 5'9", and had survived a number of injuries, including an embedded projectile.

After taking CT scans of the skeleton, though, Chatters discovered that the embedded object was not a bullet or piece of shrapnel but rather a stone tool.  He immediately sent a sample of the skeleton for carbon dating and was astonished to discover that Kennewick Man was in fact 9,000 years old.

Picard and Kennewick Man
The popular press jumped on this finding: what was a white man doing in Washington state 9,000 years ago?  Questions were raised over the "race" or ancestry of Kennewick Man: Do Native Americans had any claim to being the first people in America? Were Caucasians really the first people here?  Because of Chatters' initial report that the skull was "Caucasoid" and because of an initial reconstruction that looked surprisingly like the British actor Patrick Stewart, flurries of theories about how Europeans colonized America 20,000 years ago came out in the media.

Chatters did the best with what he had; that is, he attempted to affiliate Kennewick Man with a contemporary population based on morphological traits of the skull.  The problem with this, though, is that the population of which Kennewick Man was a part is unknown.  Only about a dozen skulls exist from this time period, so our sample size is very, very small.  There is no reason to think that Kennewick Man was not ancestral to modern Native American peoples, just because he doesn't look like them.  Physical characteristics change through time, and skull morphology is contingent on environmental effects and the laws of evolution.

There was quick opposition to further study of Kennewick Man by Native groups.  Some implied that their opposition was based on the fear that tribal sovereignty would be threatened if it were found that Kennewick Man was not the ancestor of modern Native Americans.  Yet no treaty between Native groups and the U.S. has ever allowed for the provision that the tribe's ancestors were not the first people here.  When Europeans arrived, they recognized the inhabitants of America as the sovereigns of the continent.  Although laws and treaties governing Native American rights have changed, no one has challenged that Native Americans were here first.

Kennewick Man
(by K. Kasnot, 2004)
A 2002 ruling by Judge Jelderks noted that Kennewick Man was neither Native American nor culturally affiliated with any modern tribes.  The SAA and other groups disagreed with the ruling that the skeleton was not Native American, but many archaeologists around the country celebrated the lack of cultural affiliation, which meant the skeleton did not have to be repatriated immediately.  The first extensive look at Kennewick Man came in 2005, long after the Army Corps of Engineers locked them up at the Burke Museum, waiting for a resolution between Native American groups and the federal government.  A team of researchers from the Smithsonian discovered that Kennewick Man was about 5'9", muscular, and right-handed, possibly from spear fishing and hunting.  His joints showed that he had extensive arthritis; a fractured rib had healed, a depression fracture on his forehead and left parietal had healed, and the projectile wound in his hip had also healed, around the spear point.  Most interesting was the team's finding that Kennewick Man had been deliberately buried.

Kennewick Man's remains are still at the Burke Museum in Washington, controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers.  It is possible that some day additional tests will be done - isotope or DNA analysis - but the eventual disposition of Kennewick Man is unknown.  He is clearly Palaeo-Indian, and he is clearly an important specimen for our reconstruction of the population history of North America. [7]

Navigating Contested Identities

The Kennewick Man case makes NAGPRA sound like a wedge between Native groups and Euroamerican scientists, but that's not always the case.  At the AIA meeting in Philadelphia a couple weeks ago, I heard a wonderful presentation by Sandra Hollimon called "Death, Burial, and the Liminal: Identities at Fort Ross, California."

A skeleton was found eroding out of a bank at Fort Ross, California in 1999.  The history of the fort is complex: in the early 1800s, the Russian American Company, in search of furs to sell, brought populations of Native Alaskans to northern California to help trap sea lions.  At the time, then, the population living in and around Fort Ross included Russians, Native Alaskans, as well as two groups of Native Americans: the Miwok and the Kashaya Pomo.  The skeleton was found almost literally at the intersection of the three neighborhoods: Russian, Alaskan, and Californian.

The group shares stories of who Fort Ross Man may
have been. (credit)
Hollimon was able to study the remains in order to determine which group it may have belonged to.  She found that the individual was too tall for the Native Alaska or California populations, but that his dental wear looked more Native.  Permission was granted to do mtDNA analysis, which revealed the individual had maternal ancestry from Alaska.  Hollimon's interpretation is that the man had a Native Alaskan mother, was brought to northern California by Russian traders, and may have lived with a Native Californian woman, who cooked him food in her traditional way, thereby giving him Native-looking dental wear.  "Fort Ross Man" was reburied in 2001 along with collaboration from Native Alaskan groups and the Russian Orthodox Church.

Because of very close consultation with Native groups and strict adherence to NAGPRA, Hollimon was able to do DNA analysis, which let her discover something new about "mixed" identities in the early 19th century and let her culturally affiliate the remains so that Fort Ross Man could have a proper disposition.

The future of bioarchaeological ethics in the U.S.?

We've made great progress in the past 30 years, both in recognizing the needs of Native Americans to protect their ancestors and their material pasts and in understanding the population history of North America.    NAGPRA isn't perfect, though, as it leaves a lot to interpretation.  As a bioarchaeologist, I generally fall on the side of scientific importance: Palaeo-Indian remains are few and far between, so each new skeleton that is found can help us fill in the picture of ancient life, in the same way that each new hominin fossil gives us a better understanding of the diversity and evolution of humankind.

I hope that, with close consultation with Native American groups as Hollimon had, we'll be able to study these human skeletons in an appropriate manner - in a way that is comfortable to all stakeholders.  In the meantime, though, the questions of cultural affiliation, legal rights, and scientific prerogative continue to surface as archaeologists and Native groups continue their dialogue about who controls the past.

Further Reading

The 9,000-year-old La Jolla Fisherman and -woman (Powered by Osteons, 5/20/11)
Gould's Straw Man (Powered by Osteons, 6/8/11)
Biocultural Bodies and the Anatomy of Controversy (Anthropologies, 8/1/11)
Researchers, tribes clash over human bones (USA Today, 1/15/12)
A Brief History of Bioarchaeology - Part II: Italy (Powered by Osteons, 2/8/12)


This post has been adapted from a lecture that I routinely give to my Bioarchaeology, Human Osteology, and Palaeopathology classes.  As such, I've provided a list of references used for the lecture (below), but I haven't put in every parenthetical citation I would in a published article.  Each section of this post is footnoted as follows:

  [1] Thomas 2000, Ch. 1.
  [2] Thomas 2000, Ch. 2.
  [3] Thomas 2000, Chs. 3 & 4; Fabian 2010; Gould 1981, Ch. 2.
  [4] Cole 1985; Harper 2000; Thomas 2000, Chs. 6 & 9; Fabian 2010.
  [5] Deloria 1969, 1992; Turner, 1986; Thomas 2000, Ch. 20.
  [6] NAGPRA 1990; Goldstein & Kintigh 1990; Meighan 1992; Lovis et al. 2004; Ousley et al. 2005.
  [7] Chatters 2000; Ousley et al. 2005; Lemonick et al. 2006.

  • Chatters, J. (2000). The Recovery and First Analysis of an Early Holocene Human Skeleton from Kennewick, Washington American Antiquity, 65 (2) DOI: 10.2307/2694060.
  • D. Cole (1985).  Captured Heritage: the Scramble for Northwest Coast Artifacts.  University of British Columbia Press.
  • Deloria, V. (1992). Indians, Archaeologists, and the Future American Antiquity, 57 (4) DOI: 10.2307/280822.
  • V. Deloria (1969).  Custer Died for Your Sins: an Indian Manifesto.  University of Oklahoma Press.
  • A. Fabian (2010).  The Skull Collectors: Race, Science, and America's Unburied Dead.  University of Chicago Press.
  • L. Goldstein, & K. Kintigh (1990). Ethics and the Reburial Controversy American Antiquity, 55 (3), 585-591.
  • S.J. Gould (1996).  “American polygeny and craniometry before Darwin,” in The Mismeasure of Man, pp. 62-104.   W.W. Norton & Company.
  • K. Harper (2000).  Give Me My Father's Body: the Life of Minik, the New York Eskimo.  Steerforth Press.
  • M.D. Lemonick, A. Dorfman & J. Kluger. 2006.  The Untold Saga of Early Man in America.  Time Magazine 167(11), March 13, 2006.
  • W.A. Lovis, K.W. Kintigh, V.P. Steponaitis & L.G. Goldstein (2004).  Archaeological perspectives on the NAGPRA: underlying principles, legislative history, and current issues.  In: Legal Perspectives on Cultural Resources, edited by J.R. Richman and M.P. Forsyth. Altamira Press, pp. 165-184.
  • C. Meighan (1992). Some Scholars' Views on Reburial American Antiquity, 57 (4), 704-710.
  • Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (1990).
  • Ousley, S., Billeck, W., & Hollinger, R. (2005). Federal Repatriation Legislation and the Role of Physical Anthropology in Repatriation American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 128 (S41), 2-32 DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.20354.  
  • D.H. Thomas (2000).  Skull Wars: Kennewick Man, Archaeology, and the Battle for Native American Identity.  Basic Books. 
  • C.G. Turner (1986). What is lost with skeletal reburial? I. Adaptation Quarterly Review of Archaeology, 7 (1), 1-3.

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