Skulls and Skeletons

Human Bone Collections and Accumulations


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SKU: 9780786438884 Categories: , , , Tag:

About the Book

Of the parts of the human body, the bones have a unique durability that lends itself to collection. Skeletal remains can be recovered even millions of years after death, cleaned of debris, studied at length, and stored indefinitely. Motivations for collecting human skeletal material range from the practical (in anthropology, medicine, forensics) to the ritualistic (phrenology, in the relics of martyrs and saints). This book is an examination of those motivations and the collections they have brought about—catacombs, ossuaries, mass graves, prehistoric excavations, and institutional and private collections.
The book contains sections on procuring, handling, storing, transporting, cleaning, and identifying skeletal remains. The repatriation of remains is also addressed.

About the Author(s)

The late Christine Quigley authored books and articles, wrote an eclectic blog called Quigley’s Cabinet and reviewed books for Fortean Times.

Bibliographic Details

Christine Quigley

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 271
Bibliographic Info: 67 photos, appendix, glossary, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008 [2001]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3888-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v
Preface      1
Introduction      3

1. Accumulations      19
Catacombs      19
Ossuaries      29
Mass Graves      42

2. Excavations      50
Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sites      52
Historic Sites      74
Contemporary Sites      95

3. Collections      99
Collectors and Collecting      101
The Institutions      118

4. Decoration      155
ModiÞed Bones      155
Arranged Bones      171

5. Curation      186
Procurement      186
Handling, Storage, and Transport      191
Cleaning and Degreasing      192
Documentation      193
Reconstruction and Reproduction      195
Identification      200

6. Repatriation      205
Legislation      212
Loss of Collections in the United States      217
Loss of Collections Worldwide      223

7. The Future of Existing Collections      236
Making Compromises      236
Encouraging Donation      239
Collecting Data      240

Appendix: Addresses      243
Glossary      245
Bibliography      253
Index      261

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “unique…useful”—Choice
  • “important scientifically and historically”—C&RL News
  • “a great job…easily understood…fascinating…richly illustrated”—AGS Quarterly
  • “fascinating…a thoughtful, even-handed analysis…excellent”—Mummytombs
  • “a great book…very interesting”—Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology
  • “comprehensive…invaluable…you must own this book”—Morbid Curiosity