Bonus Blog Post

Most of my background in anthropology is in the medical/cultural component of the field. However, in the past year or so I have taken much more interest in the biological and archaeological side of anthropology. As such, I really thought that areas in which the two sides overlapped were quite interesting and I think that the study of such areas can be quite important. An obvious example from this class is the topic of the study of mortuary customs, which can provide valuable information about how someone lived and how they might have fit into their community. They can also give us an idea of how people thought about death and dying.

Another area that I think is important to the study of ancient Egyptians (and probably to other ancient cultures as well) are bioarchaeological studies of ancient human remains. By examining osteological, odontological, and other physical evidence from ancient human remains, we can add to the body of knowledge that has been built by the study of material culture (such as the study of mortuary practices, art & sculpture, artifacts, architecture, tools, etc). For instance, by studying macroscopic and microscopic physical markers on the teeth and bones of the ancient Egyptians, we can improve our knowledge about the lives of past civilizations, gaining perspective on how different groups might have worked, how often they got sick and what sort of diseases they contracted, what types of foods they ate and if they were ever malnourished, how long they typically lived, and other valuable information. When we combine these studies with the knowledge gained from the study of material culture, language, and studies of the environment that surrounded the ancient Egyptians, we can vastly improve our understanding of their culture than if we focus on one area of study alone.







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