Skulls and Skeletons: Human Bone Collections and Accumulations

Overview

Of the parts of the human body, the bones have a unique durability that lends itself to collection. Skeletal remains can be recovered even millions of years after death, cleaned of debris, studied at length, and stored indefinitely.

Motivations for collecting human skeletal material range from the practical (in anthropology, medicine, forensics) to the ritualistic (phrenology, in the relics of martyrs and saints). This book is an examination of those motivations and the ...

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Overview

Of the parts of the human body, the bones have a unique durability that lends itself to collection. Skeletal remains can be recovered even millions of years after death, cleaned of debris, studied at length, and stored indefinitely.

Motivations for collecting human skeletal material range from the practical (in anthropology, medicine, forensics) to the ritualistic (phrenology, in the relics of martyrs and saints). This book is an examination of those motivations and the collections they have brought about—catacombs, ossuaries, mass graves, prehistoric excavations, and institutional and private collections.

The book contains sections on procuring, handling, storing, transporting, cleaning, and identifying skeletal remains. The repatriation of remains is also addressed.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Examines collections of human bones and skulls gathered for various purposes, including anthropological and medical study, ritual purposes, and memoriam of martyrs and saints. Collections including mass graves, catacombs, ossuaries, prehistoric excavations, and institutional and private collections are described. There is material on procuring, handling, transporting, and identifying skeletal remains, as well as discussion on repatriation and legislation. B&w photos of collections are suitably eerie, especially those of catacombs, and of a chandelier that uses every bone found in the human body. Quigley is the author of , , and . Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Choice
unique...useful
C&RL News
important scientifically and historically
AGS Quarterly
a great job...easily understood...fascinating...richly illustrated
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786438884
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/27/2008
  • Pages: 271
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Christine Quigley writes books and articles, reviews books for Fortean Times, and adds daily posts to her eclectic blog at Quigley's Cabinet. She lives in Florida.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface 1
Introduction 3
1 Accumulations 19
Catacombs 19
Ossuaries 29
Mass Graves 42
2 Excavations 50
Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sites 52
Historic Sites 74
Contemporary Sites 95
3 Collections 99
Collectors and Collecting 101
The Institutions 118
4 Decoration 155
Modified Bones 155
Arranged Bones 171
5 Curation 186
Procurement 186
Handling, Storage, and Transport 191
Cleaning and Degreasing 192
Documentation 193
Reconstruction and Reproduction 195
Identification 200
6 Repatriation 205
Legislation 212
Loss of Collections in the United States 217
Loss of Collections Worldwide 223
7 The Future of Existing Collections 236
Making Compromises 236
Encouraging Donation 239
Collecting Data 240
App.: Addresses 243
Glossary 245
Bibliography 253
Index 261
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