Traditionally, reconstructions of social complexity in past societies have relied on a plethora of indicators including, but not limited to, ancient texts, monumental architectural and archaeological evidence for hierarchical leadership, surplus storage, craft specialisation and the density of populations. With the exception of mortuary patterns, particularly the quantity and quality of grave goods, bioarchaeological data have featured less prominently in archaeological interpretation. Over the past 40 years, however, the study of human skeletal remains has been more firmly integrated into theoretical explorations of the past, and the broader development of biocultural models has contributed more fully to archaeological research. The first of the two volumes reviewed here is exemplary of current bioarchaeological approaches that draw on human biology, cultural development and physical environments to understand the human experience.
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