New Directions in Bioarchaeology: Recent Contributions to the Study of Human Social Identities

by Kelly J. Knudson, Christopher M. Stojanowski
Journal of Archaeological Research ()


As a discipline that bridges the biological and social sciences, bioarchaeology has much to contribute to a contextualized and theoretically sophisticated understanding of social identities. Here, we discuss the growing methodological sophistication of bioarchaeology and highlight new developments in osteological age and sex estimation, paleodemography, biodistance analysis, biogeochemistry, and taphonomy, particularly anthropologie de terrain. We then discuss how these methodological developments, when united with social theory, can elucidate social identities. More specifically, we highlight past and future bioarchaeological work on disability and impairment, gender identity, identities of age and the life course, social identity and body modification, embodiment, and ethnic and community identities.

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