The Provenience Paradox The Benefits of Renewed Analysis on Biological Collections without Context: A Proof of Concept

Hampson, Daniel L. (2016) The Provenience Paradox The Benefits of Renewed Analysis on Biological Collections without Context: A Proof of Concept. [Abstract]

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Within the field of anthropology, when a collection lacks or is limited in its provenience, the research potential of the collection is generally considered to be minimal. Because of the limitations for research, some argue that it is unethical to study or publish on such collections. The counter opinion argues that it is reasonable to study and publish on these collections despite the fact that circumstances surrounding their acquisition may be less than ideal. Moreover, such collections may have the most urgent need for thorough documentation and analysis to prevent further loss of information. This debate as well as a number of other ethical problems concerning scholarship, study and publication of such collections are discussed in this paper. This study assesses the ability of a skeletal collection to convey information independent of its original context. Emphasis is placed on nonmetric methods relating to determination of ancestry in an attempt to demonstrate the value of renewed study on skeletal collections with limited provenience. The results of this study indicate that analysis of standard biological documentation can enhance research potential, even with limited contextual information. Specifically, cross tabulation analysis of age and sex data, cranial deformation, cribra orbitalia, cranial trauma, and nonmetric traits can shed light on population origins, patterns of disease, environmental conditions, and cultural practices. Using these easily observable characteristics, geographic and temporal information can be uncovered and additional areas of analysis can then be identified.

Item Type: Abstract
Created by Student or Faculty: Student
Uncontrolled Keywords: Provenience Non-metric Archaeology Anthropology Osteology
Subjects: Undergrad Research Symposium > Anthropology
Undergrad Research Symposium
Depositing User: Daniel Hampson
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2016 15:42
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2016 15:42

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