April 08, 2014

4:05 AM | Bones - Season 9, Episode 20 (Review)
The High in the LowEpisode SummaryAs police chase an escaped criminal, the man finds a dead body in a hollow log he's attempting to hide in.  He freaks out.  Brennan and Booth, who are at a shooting range so Booth can practice for his shooty-runny-thinky FBI exam, get the call about the body and head out to Great Falls National Park which, amazingly, is actually close to D.C. The body has been shoved into a tree stump two miles from the nearest road. Most of the bugs are residents of […]

April 03, 2014

7:06 PM | Re-Analysis and Death in Iron Age Britain
Re-analysis is an interesting phenomenon in archaeology. It can be both a good thing and a bad thing depending on the collection and type of materials. Re-analysis is exactly what […]

Armit, I., Neale, N., Shapland, F., Bosworth, H., Hamilton, D. & Mckenzie, J. (2013). The Ins and Outs of Death in the Iron Age: Complex Funerary Treatments at Broxmouth Hillfort, East Lothian, Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 32 (1) 73-100. DOI:

12:59 PM | Pile dwellings and dug-outs. A review of two archaeological exhibitions in Bern and Biel.
The first European Neolithic site I dug was in the south of the Netherlands. All we found were post holes, colourful traces in the yellow sand. We found a handful of pottery shards and a few flint tools, and not … Continue reading →
11:53 AM | Creativity in Osteology Labs
As I mentioned in my "Hyoidkus" post, I've taken the opportunity afforded by teaching Human Osteology at a new institution to overhaul old labs and create spiffy new ones that attempt to engage students' abilities to think both rationally and creatively.  Here are some of the creative activities from the last three labs, with the best among student responses to each...In your lab write-up, include a paragraph describing – using as precise anatomical terminology as possible – […]

April 02, 2014

9:19 PM | Bones - Season 9, Episode 19 (Review)
The Turn in the UrnEpisode SummaryBooth and Brennan attend a funeral for Todd Mirga, a billionaire Romani hedgefund manager who funded Brennan's research in the past and was found in his safe room, having OD'ed on heroin. During the funeral, however, Todd shows up and claims that he was out of the country in rehab for his heroin problem. The team scans images of the dead body and notes that, when the body was found three weeks after death, the face was swollen and unrecognizable, and the body […]
1:51 PM | New Skull of the Month – The Bat
This month I have chosen to look at the skull of the bat. I’ve always loved these animals and have an early memory of being intrigued by them when I visited the bat house at Cotswold Wildlife Park as a kid. Bats are interesting, varying mammals and I am intrigued with what I will find […]
12:20 PM | March Pieces Of My Mind #2
Swedish Mail’s money transfer numbers usually have eight digits. My mother’s number has four. This is because the account was originally opened by her grandfather in 1925, shortly after the service started. Kipling was quite conservative in many things, but still a recurrent theme in his short stories is a deep sympathy for women who…

April 01, 2014

3:30 PM | Digging Up a Medieval Latrine: Photos
A series of barrels were apparently once used as toilets in Medieval Denmark.
3:19 PM | Medieval Poop Found: Still Stinks
The well-preserved excrement reveals that these Medieval Danish ate lots of raspberries and used moss as toilet paper. Continue reading →
1:26 PM | Who needs a classicist? (Installment 1)
You're all probably aware of my occasional series, "Who needs an osteologist?" where I show images with poorly laid-out skeletons because no one thought to consult an osteologist or even the internet.  Well, while watching last night's Bones, I realized there's a need for a new series, "Who needs a classicist?"According to Brennan, this is a Mesopotamian "sacrificial basin" from 3000 BC:Yeah, no.  This looks like an Attic red-figure lekanis to me (dating to about 400-300 BC). […]
12:58 PM | Population genetic structure in polar bears from Hudson Bay, Canada
As it’s the start of a new month I am thinking of my next animal of choice for my next installment of ‘Skull of the month‘. I haven’t quite worked out which one I want to choose just yet but I’m quite tempted to look at on of the vertebrates features on the ‘Secrets of […]
11:28 AM | The Future of Blogging for Bones Don’t Lie
This is the final blog post in a series of larger blogging carnival posts hosted by the blog Doug’s Archaeology. The previous posts have focused on why we blog, what […]
10:27 AM | Blogging Archaeology – Join us!
It is already the last month of Doug’s Blogging Archaeology Carnival and although I have not been able to join in every month’s instalment, it has been great to see such a large part of the international archaeological blogging community … Continue reading →

March 31, 2014

7:02 PM | Roman Bioarchaeology Carnival XXXIX
News from the Roman and Roman-adjacent world for March... Strangely, no good pictures of bones this month.Roman-Area Finds and Articles24 February - Authorities to Seize a Roman Statue in Queens That They Say Was Stolen (NY Times). The illegally obtained life-size sarcophagus lid, which depicts Ariadne, may have been looted from a Swiss gallery in 2002.3 March - New Discoveries at the Gallic Necropolis of Esvres-sur-Indre (Past Horizons). This Late Iron Age/Early Roman cemetery in […]
6:21 PM | Blogging (Bio)Archaeology - Where do we go from here?
Doug's question this month for the Blogging Archaeology carnival is, "Where are you going with blogging or where would you like it to go?  My answer is pretty simple: I'd like to write more.The latest incarnation of this blog coincided with my jump into a sort of public-facing science blogging (the whole "Gay Caveman" thing).  Since then, I've written a whole bunch of essays that I'm pretty proud of, like:Line on the Left, One Cross Each: The Bioarchaeology of […]
1:33 PM | The Final Episode of Secrets of Bones
Last night I watched the 6th and final episode of the series ‘Secrets of Bones’ which was called ‘Sex’. As you may have guessed this episode focused on how the  skeleton helps attract mates, fight off competition and even perform better. Once again the show features a wide range of animals and their skeletal adaptions […]

March 29, 2014

1:20 PM | Swedish Linux Users: Avoid Elgiganten
As detailed here before, a few Samsung laptop models have a firmware bug that makes them liable to becoming inert bricks if you install Linux. It’s a one-way process. This happened to me when I bought an ultrabook from the Elgiganten big-box store last summer. Both Samsung and the store refused to reimburse me for…
1:01 PM | Changes in the Human Jaw since the Medieval Period. As featured on the ‘Secrets of Bones’.
Last week I watched the 5th episode of BBC4′s ‘Secrets of Bones’ with Ben Garrod. This episode looked at how the skeletal system was adapted to help animals catch and eat their food. I wrote a summary of this episode in one of my previous posts but I purposely left out one particular feature of […]

March 28, 2014

1:20 PM | Two Medieval Ruins
I drove down to Norrköping Thursday morning to look at two small Medieval castle ruins for my new project. The one at Landsjö in Kimstad is difficult to reach because it’s on a small island in a lake where nobody keeps a boat. So I had bought one of those big tractor-tyre things (that people…

March 27, 2014

12:50 PM | Roman Emperor Dressed as Pharaoh in Newfound Carving
An ancient stone carving on the walls of an Egyptian temple depicts the Roman emperor Claudius dressed as an Egyptian pharaoh, wearing an elaborate crown.

March 26, 2014

7:00 PM | A Review of Secrets of Bones by the Guardian
I saw this article though a facebook link and thought I would have a quick read of it. This article, by Sam Wollaston, is positive about the series – which is great, but I feel they could have gone further. For starters the article only focuses on the final episode (which I haven’t seen yet) […]
5:34 PM | Who needs an osteologist? (Installment 11)
It should really come as no surprise that a TV show called Nazi War Diggers needs an osteologist. That's not a right femur.Of course, the real problem is that none of the three men who are the on-air "talent" for this show is trained as an archaeologist or forensic anthropologist. After all the brouhaha from archaeologists about other problematic shows, like Spike TV's American Digger (see this NYTimes article, for example) and the NatGeo Channel's Diggers featuring amateur archaeologists […]
12:13 PM | The Global Registry of Biorepositories (GRBio)
About 2 weeks ago I published a post promoting a map produced by NatSCA showing the location of natural history collections in the UK. Building from that there is The Global Registry of Biorepositories (GRBio). This website contains information about biological collections in natural history museums, herbaria, and other biorepositories from around the world and […]
1:58 AM | Bones - Season 9, Episode 18 (Review)
The Carrot in the KudzuEpisode SummaryA body encased in kudzu is brought into the Jeffersonian. Hodgins works to free the bone from the fast-growing invasive plant before its root system disarticulates the bones. Based on the size of the second cervical vertebra, Brennan guesses the person was male. Dr. Edison notes the angular eye orbit and guesses Caucasian. Although there was a lot of animal predation, several large fragments of organs remain for Saroyan, including the prostate, confirming […]

March 25, 2014

2:35 PM | The Skull Bio-mechanics of the Polar Bear
Check out my page about some of the bio-mechanics of the polar bear skull. This was taken from the article by Slater et al. (2010) ‘Biomechanical Consequences of Rapid Evolution in the Polar Bear Lineage’. They are a perfect example of how an animals environment and the surrounding ecology can shape it’s morphology.
11:52 AM | Pigs on the Pyre- Solving Cremation Mysteries
There is a mystery in archaeology that numerous regions and eras have to deal with- where are the infants? Deceased infants are potentially treated differently when they die- the argument […]

Jæger, J & Johanson, V (2013). The cremation of infants/small children: An archaeological experiment concerning the effects of fire on bone weight, Cadernos do GEEvH, 2 (2) 13-26. Other: Link


March 24, 2014

3:51 PM | Bone Benefits of 3D Printing
Originally posted on These Bones Of Mine:Recently there has been some extraordinarily interesting articles in the press recently on the value of 3D printing in surgical procedures.  In particular the UK seems to be leading the way in producing 3D printed implants for use in reconstructive surgeries, as recent articles in the BBC, the…
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