Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland (Exceptional Social Studies Titles for Intermediate Grades)

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9780822571353: Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland (Exceptional Social Studies Titles for Intermediate Grades)

How did the colonists of Jamestown and Maryland live and die? Forensic anthropology provides an incredible array of answers. Scientists can look into a grave and determine the skeleton's gender, age at time of death, nationality, and sometimes even economic standing within minutes. Laboratory studies can provide cause of death information. Once these details are known, some skeletons can even be matched with a name via the historical record. Sibert-winning author Sally M. Walker worked side by side with archaeologists and forensic anthropologists in her research for this uniquely appealing book.

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About the Author:

Sally M. Walker is the author of many award-winning nonfiction books for young readers. She is the author of Secrets of a Civil War Submarine: Solving the Mysteries of the H.L. Hunley, which won the prestigious Sibert award in 2006. When she isn't busy writing or doing research for books, Ms. Walker works as a children's literature consultant. She gives presentations at many reading conferences and has taught at Northern Illinois University. Her other books with Lerner include Magnetism, Light, Sound, and Electricity.

From School Library Journal:

Starred Review. Grade 6–9—Walker takes readers on an archaeological investigation of human and material remains from 17th- and 18th-century Jamestown and colonial Maryland, while addressing relevant topics in forensic anthropology, history, and archaeology. The excavations encompass burial sites of colonists from various backgrounds, including a teenage indentured servant hastily buried in a trash pit, a grouping of prominent colonists laid to rest in lead coffins, and a woman of African heritage who likely toiled as a slave. Answers concerning the identity and fate of the uncovered remains are realized only after various specialists combine their findings to re-create relevant historical circumstances. In one instance, anthropologists provide anatomical details of a recovered skull to artists, who then use the data to produce the first sculpture of an American colonist of African ancestry. The text succinctly explains complex forensic concepts, such as determining the gender and age of a skeleton, or whether a skull represents a person originating from Europe or Africa. Captioned, full-color photographs of skeletal, dental, and artifactual remains shed light on colonial life. Historical documents, illustrated maps, and anatomical drawings complement images of various specialists at work in the field. Photographs of reenactors performing period tasks, such as grinding corn, provide insight into the daily life of the recovered individuals. Though other recent volumes discuss forensic anthropology, such as James M. Deem's Bodies from the Ice (Houghton, 2008), Written in Bone casts a magnifying glass on the hardships and realities of colonial life so often romanticized in American lore.—Jeff Meyer, Slater Public Library, IA
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