Resources for Bioarchaeology and Mortuary Archaeology News

I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently on where to find news and information on specific bioarchaeological or mortuary archaeological topics. Therefore, I figured it was time that I shared where I usually go to find inspiration for the posts done on Bones Don’t Lie.

Scholarly Journals: These can be a little difficult to access if you aren’t associated with a university, but your local library might be able to request issues or articles for you. Journals are where the professionals are publishing their work, and where you can get the most complete versions of news. Unlike popular news which distills the arguments down to the most interesting bits, these will have complete arguments as well as all the evidence you need to assess it yourself.

Journal of Osteoarchaeology: The focus is on any human or non-human remains, primarily looking at historic and prehistoric. This is where I get the majority of my scholarly articles from, and is the first place I check when I need information on a bone related topic. The articles primarily focus on bioarchaeology, but some may have information on the mortuary site or broader culture.

American Journal of Physical Anthropology: The focus of this is anything physical anthropology. In regards to bioarchaeology, the issues can be hit or miss for having good articles. About every other I find one or two that are really in what I consider to be my discipline. The only problem is that the focus is physical, which means the mortuary site and culture are not addressed as thoroughly as some may like.

Journal of Paleopathology: This journal just started, but the focus is on diseases in skeletal remains from the past. The first couple issues have focused on summarizing the discipline and showing the best they have to offer, but in general this is a great resource for finding information on diseases.

Archaeology Journals: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology or Journal of Archaeological Science sometimes have articles on mortuary sites and may use human remains as part of their evidence. These articles are nice because the focus is on the broader culture with skeletal evidence as a piece of the puzzle and not the entire focus. For mortuary archaeology, these journals are a better option.

Popular News: While journal articles are more detailed, news articles are more up to date. It can take years for a journal article to get published, but news is often about current finds. The problem is that they tend to focus on the sensational aspects instead of the meaningful ones, which can lead to headlines about Gay Cavemen or Aliens. You need to be careful and critical when reading these, but they can be a great way to get a feel for what is going on and up to date.

Past Horizons: This is a very reputable source for news and the editors pull from well known bloggers in order to get their content. While the focus isn’t bones or mortuary, they often post about the topics. The research is well done and they always list their sources so that you can go more in depth.

Archaeology News: I also check Archaeology Mag News and Archaeologica on a daily basis to see the newest finds and excavations. The articles can either be really good, or really sensational. Some will have more details than others, and some even link to scholarly articles. While I wouldn’t suggest getting your primary knowledge about topics from here, they are a good starting place to see what the current finds and issues are in the discipline.

Other Bloggers: Different bloggers tend to focus on different topics. Its nice to see the variation and the different interpretations that are out there. My blog is directly from my perspective as an anthropological archaeologist with a background in human osteoarchaeology. Other bone related blogs come from a strictly forensics perspective or from other disciplines. (The blogs I’ve listed below as well as my own received shout outs in the newsletter for Society of Archaeological Sciences as being top bioarchaeology news sources!)

Powered By Osteons: Kristina Killgrove’s focus is primarily Roman and Classics, looking more at the skeletal material than the mortuary sites themselves. However, she is great at addressing current issues in the discipline and discussing  the field as a whole. Her summaries and analysis of episodes of the tv show Bones is also quite informative. If you are a fan of my blog, I would definitely suggest checking hers out.

These Bones of Mine: This blog by David Mennear is great for people new to the discipline, and also addresses the issues of our focus overall. My favorite part of this blog is that he picks topics in identification, aging, sexing and general analysis, and teaches the reader skills they would need to be an actual osteoarchaeologist.

What sources do you look to for current news in bioarchaeology and mortuary archaeology?

4 responses to “Resources for Bioarchaeology and Mortuary Archaeology News

  1. Pingback: Blog Mention In Newsletter Of The Society For Archaeological Sciences « These Bones Of Mine·

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