Northwestern Plains prehistory and early history as told by human bones is vivid and dramatic. The skeletal and burial record spans thousands of years, a wide geographic expanse, and contains important evidence of human existence in this vast region of North America. This book helps clarify the emerging picture.
Most of the contributions assembled here were initially presented as part of a symposium at the Plains Conference in Oklahoma City in 2003. Twenty-one preeminent scholars, working across many fields within bioarchaeology and skeletal biology—including paleopathology, dental pathology, and human osteology—bring their expertise to bear not only on prehistoric Native American burials, but on numerous other case studies. They look at specific Wyoming samples of pioneer-era burials, Indian War–era casualties, historic Chinese burials, and remains from the Benick Ranch and the Korell-Bordeaux sites. Reports on Crow Indian mummies from Montana and military burials from Missouri and Nebraska continue the exploration into recent historic times.
Human burials provide a rich source of information about people’s lives—who they were, what activities they pursued, and how they may have participated in rituals of death and mourning. This volume is an authoritative statement on both the skeletal biology and bioarchaeology of the entire Northwestern Plains.