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<< Wednesday, May 01, 2013 >>

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AIA Lecture: Brittle Old Bones: The Bioarchaeology of Bone Loss and the Aging Skeleton

Lecture: Other UCB Archaeology | May 1 | 7 p.m. | 370 Dwinelle Hall | Note change in date

Sabrina C. Agarwal, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley

Archaeological Institute of America

Bioarchaeology (the study of archaeological human remains together with contextual and documentary evidence) offers a unique avenue to investigate aspects of social change and identity in the past. As a dynamic tissue that is forged by biocultural factors over the entire lifetime, the human skeleton provides a record of individual and community life history. Various aspects of adult bone health, particularly bone loss and fragility, have been examined in past populations. While bone loss is generally regarded to be an inevitable consequence of menopause and aging, empirical research on bone maintenance in archaeological populations will be presented that show that patterns of bone loss do not constitute predictable consequences of aging or biological sex. Instead, the bioarchaeological data highlights the complex and changing processes that craft the human body over the life course, and the role of archaeological remains in revealing the biosocial worlds of our ancestors.