Skulls and Skeletons

Human Bone Collections and Accumulations


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SKU: 9780786438884 Categories: ,

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.