The Badè Museum and the Ignite Institute invite you to “Worked to the Bone: Near Eastern Studies Reconstructing Behavior from Ancient Egyptian Skeletal Remains,” a lecture by Jessica Kaiser from University of California, Berkeley.
Unlike other traces of ancient cultures, like artifacts and architecture, human remains represent the most intimate link to past populations.
Their study can provide information not only on treatment of the dead, beliefs, and ritual behavior, but also on age and sex distribution, health, and quality of life in ancient communities. During life, our bones are living organs that remodel and adapt in response to both environmental and internal stimuli. Thus, in the last decades, researchers have looked at bony changes such as bone robusticity, osteoarthritis, and musculo-skeletal stress markers thought to reflect such adaptations in order to reconstruct activity levels in the past. The relationship between environment and biology, however, is complex, and there is no one-to-one correspondence between specific stress markers and specific activities. Nevertheless, by comparing such markers between different populational groups, bioarchaeologists can still tease out important information about labor division and general workloads. When carefully analyzed, each individual skeleton has a unique story to tell about its owner’s life.
This talk will present the recent findings of such analyses—on both a populational and individual level—of skeletal material from the Saite (664-525 BCE) and Mid-Roman Period (1st-2nd Century CE) Wall of the Crow Cemetery at Giza and the Second Intermediate Period/New Kingdom (c. 1500 BCE) Mut Precinct Cemetery at Karnak, Egypt.
Jessica Kaiser is currently finishing her Ph.D at the University of California, Berkeley and holds an M.A. from the University of Stockholm, Sweden. Her areas of specialization are the social history of Late Period Egypt, mortuary and field archaeology, osteology and taphonomy; her current research has been on the Giza Plateau, particularly the late period cemetery excavations and the Wall of the Crow Cemetery. Learn about her research here!
Friday, April 29th, 5:30pm
Badè Museum Gallery
1798 Scenic Avenue in Berkeley
(Reception to follow)