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The Science of Roman HistoryBiology, Climate, and the Future of the Past$
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Walter Scheidel

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691195988

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691195988.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Bones, Teeth, and History

Bones, Teeth, and History

Chapter:
(p.123) Chapter Four Bones, Teeth, and History
Source:
The Science of Roman History
Author(s):

Alessandra Sperduti

Luca Bondioli

Oliver E. Craig

Tracy Prowse

Peter Garnsey

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691195988.003.0005

This chapter discusses human bones and teeth, which are the primary databank for biological anthropologists. The topic has aroused little interest among historians of antiquity. The beginnings of an explanation of this disparity are to be sought in the fact that human skeletal remains have no obvious relevance as a source of information for politics, political institutions, political thought, government, law, religion, warfare: in brief, for the traditional concerns of ancient historians. A second consideration is that biological anthropology is rooted in prehistory; its practitioners are characteristically involved in the exploration of the origins of humanity. Fortunately, some anthropologists have allowed themselves to stray into historical periods, including the classical world of Greece and Rome. In the meantime, historians of antiquity are showing increased interest in social, economic, and cultural history, and are displaying a new willingness to expose themselves to other disciplines, including the natural and social sciences. Thus, the time seems ripe for fruitful communication between historians and anthropologists. Specifically, health and demography (mortality, fertility, and mobility) hold promise as fields for constructive dialogue and collaborative research.

Keywords:   human bones, human teeth, collaborative research, biological anthropology, antiquity, natural sciences, social sciences, health, demography

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