Session: #280

Theme & Session Format

Digital archaeology, science and multidisciplinarity: new methods, new challenges
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

New Approaches in Bioarchaeology
Technical advances in the last decades have provided bioarchaeologists with numerous new techniques for analysis of skeletal remains and other bioarchaeological material. This includes analysis of biomolecules such as proteins, DNA, and hormones, stable isotopes and trace elements, 3D-scanning, and other digital morphometrics approaches. While such techniques increase the scope of archaeological information that can be obtained from bioarchaeological samples, they are not unproblematic and have limitations. They can be misused for sensational research or to hype a technique without providing useful archaeological knowledge. Methods such as DNA sequencing and 3D modelling generate large data sets, which creates problems in terms of data storing, sharing, and standardization, but also provides new research avenues by allowing big data analysis.

In this session we welcome all kinds of papers on bioarchaeological analysis employing “new” technologies or a multidisciplinary approach, regardless of geographic region or time period. As we do not necessarily believe that “new” equals “better”, however, we also welcome papers employing “old-fashioned” approaches to bioarchaeology, especially when the author(s) can show why the “old-fashioned” method still remains relevant, difficult to replace, or can be combined with “new” techniques. We particularly welcome papers discussing the scopes and limits of new bioarchaeological methods in relation to fundamental archaeological questions, and papers that aim to bridge the gap between archaeologists with and without a background in the natural sciences.
Bioarchaeology, Physical Anthropology, Osteoarchaeology, Archaeological Science, Skeletal Research
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Main organiser:
Sebastian Wärmländer (Sweden) 1
Eve Rannamäe (United Kingdom) 2,3
Anja Petaros (Croatia) 4
1. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
2. BioArCh, Department of Archaeology, University of York, Environment Building, Wentworth Way, YO10 5DD York, United Kingdom
3. Department of Archaeology, Institute of History and Archaeology, University of Tartu, Jakobi 2, 51005 Tartu, Estonia
4. Department of Forensic Medicine, National Board of Forensic Medicine, Artillerigatan 12, 587 58 Linköping, Sweden