Written in Bone

Written in Bone

Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland

Book - 2009
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Bright white teeth. Straight leg bones. Awkwardly contorted arm bones. On a hot summer day in 2005, Dr. Douglas Owsley of the Smithsonian Institution peered into an excavated grave, carefully examining the fragile skeleton that had been buried there for four hundred years. "He was about fifteen years old when he died. And he was European," Owsley concluded. But how did he know? Just as forensic scientists use their knowledge of human remains to help solve crimes, they use similar skills to solve the mysteries of the long-ago past. Join author Sally M. Walker as she works alongside the scientists investigating colonial-era graves near Jamestown, Virginia, as well as other sites in Maryland. As you follow their investigations, she'll introduce you to what scientists believe are the lives of a teenage boy, a ship's captain, an indentured servant, a colonial official and his family, and an enslaved African girl. All are reaching beyond the grave to tell us their stories, which are written in bone.

Publisher: Minneapolis : Carolrhoda Books, c2009.
ISBN: 9780822571353
Call Number: 614.17 WALKER
Characteristics: 144 p. : col. ill. ; 29 cm
Subjects: Chesapeake Bay Region (Md. and Va.) -- Antiquities.
Jamestown (Va.) -- Antiquities.
Human remains (Archaeology) -- Chesapeake Bay Region (Md. and Va.)
Human remains (Archaeology) -- Virginia -- Jamestown.
Forensic osteology.
Forensic anthropology.


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Jan 03, 2016

I'm not sure how readable this is for a smaller kid but if they are interested in forensics, this may be the book for them. Well illustrated and straightforward, it covers this dig in a simple but effective manner. There are a couple of "soft" spots where the author is a little mealy-mouthed - slavery, for one, and Native peoples, for another - but he's not entirely off base. I would definitely let the kids have a go then discuss it with them.

Forensic anthropologists use state-of-the-art methods to look at the bodies of people who lived in the 1600s and 1700s, trying to find out who they were, how they lived—and how they died. Illus. with photos.


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