Skeleton Anthropology Paper TopicsMany of the current topics in the area of skeleton anthropology are focused on complex issues that arise when skeleton remains are examined. There are four categories of these issues, each with their own set of research questions, methods and techniques. I will cover them below, with discussion and comments following.
Identification: The first three areas to discuss are identifying the basic skeletal elements of the deceased, determining the gender and the approximate time of death. In terms of identification, I will provide some guidelines on what information to collect, what to include in the reporting and what types of photographs are acceptable. In terms of the human remains themselves, it is important to consider whether the family agrees to display the remains, and whether the next of kin has expressed an interest in keeping the remains. There are also many situations where only a minimal amount of information can be obtained, especially if burial is not arranged or documented properly. This is where the use of infrared thermography is appropriate.
Skeletons from the United States: The National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, holds skeletal remains from North America. It was established to preserve and exhibit skeletons, including skeletal remains and other bones and artifacts of North American origin. They are a useful source for researchers because they are arranged in areas, such as parietal and cervical vertebrae and hips.
Orthognathic surgery: One area of skeleton anthropology that does not receive as much attention as it should is the field of orthognathic surgery. Orthognathic surgeons have studied the needs of the patient's skull, face, and facial muscles in order to treat patients with problems such as: facial deformities, disorders of the larynx, facial swelling, ankylosing spondylitis, etc. Although orthognathic surgeons are highly specialized, many of the same skills are required when working with skeletal remains.
Creation and publication: Thefield of forensic anthropology has focused on issues of identification and publication. An examination of this field will show the importance of getting a forensic anthropologist involved in the scientific method. There are other issues to consider, such as; release of data by government agencies, legal issues related to issues of disclosure, public relations, and determining how to use results in the literature.
Archaeological Burial Practices: This has been the focus of research in some other areas, such as the First Nations, Vietnam, and other areas. Because of the extreme pressures of the profession, some archaeologists have chosen to specialize in these areas. In other cases, they have used their specialization to develop methods of testing in bone and teeth and dental casts.
In conclusion, I would like to touch on the types of skeletons that are found, the types of skeletal remains that are required, and the types of questions that come up in the skeleton anthropology. The topic is very broad, and there are many other areas to cover, such as dental reconstruction. These areas include not only identification but also tissue analysis, dental reconstruction, dental impressions, and dental diagnosis.