Paleoepidemiology: The Measure of Disease in the Human Past

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How do we identify and measure human disease in the past? In the absence of soft tissue, paleoepidemiologists have developed ingenious ways of assessing illness and mortality in archaeological populations. In this volume, the key methods of epidemiology are outlined for non-specialists, showing the importance of studying prevalence over incidence, adjustments needed in studying past groups, how to compare studies, and the dangers of assessing occupation based upon bone evidence. A model for planning a proper ...
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Overview


How do we identify and measure human disease in the past? In the absence of soft tissue, paleoepidemiologists have developed ingenious ways of assessing illness and mortality in archaeological populations. In this volume, the key methods of epidemiology are outlined for non-specialists, showing the importance of studying prevalence over incidence, adjustments needed in studying past groups, how to compare studies, and the dangers of assessing occupation based upon bone evidence. A model for planning a proper paleoepidemiological study concludes the volume. Both as an introduction to epidemiology for archaeologists, and as a primer on archaeological analysis for epidemiologists, this book should serve the needs of both populations.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Waldron is an outstanding scientist with years of experience in conducting research and teaching students. He is also a gifted writer who writes with clarity and humor. This book is must reading for anyone who is conducting or anticipates conducting research in paleopathology." —Donald J. Ortner, Smithsonian Institution

"For the most part the book is clearly written and is broken down into well-organized chapters, with occasional notes of wry humour and many sardonic observations. Overall this volume has some valuable insights and contributions to the understanding of epidemiology in past populations."

- Andrew W. Hickok, Canadian Journal of Archaeology

"Waldron’s medical perspective leads to some interesting and unique inclusions in the book…Paleopathology benefits from contributions from a variety of fields, and Waldron’s book has merits in providing a clinical perspective."

- Mary Lewis, American Journal of Archaeology

"Palaeoepidemiology provides an extremely useful synthesis of the appropriate methods with which to analyse human skeletal data, and the problems and pitfalls to watch out for, and as such should be a recommended read for students of osteoarchaeology."

- Rebecca Gowland, Medical History

"Overall, this is an excellent book, and a very much needed update on Waldron’s first book on palaeoepidemiology entitled Counting the Dead (1994, Chichester). Counting the Dead was Waldron’s first venture into applying epidemiological methods to archaeological assemblages, and is now sadly out of print. This book focuses much more on the actual methods than Counting the Dead did, and also has incorporated much more modern techniques and developments. Despite the high price for this book, it is well worth its value. There are no other comparable text books available, therefore, I would recommend this book to all students of Osteology and Forensic Anthropology, and to anyone interested in epidemiology or palaeoepidemiology."

- Claire Marie Rennie, PaleoAnthropology

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Product Details

Meet the Author


Tony Waldron teaches at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. He previously taught at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Waldron is author of Counting the Dead: The Epidemiology of Skeletal Populations and over 100 papers on epidemiological subjects.
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