Reorienting Bioarchaeology for an Era of Reconciliation
PDF

Keywords

Bioarchaeology
Reconciliation
Archaeological theory
Community-driven practice

How to Cite

Bourgeois, R. (2020). Reorienting Bioarchaeology for an Era of Reconciliation. Pathways, 1(1), 39–56. Retrieved from https://pathwaysgraduatejournal.ca/index.php/pathways/article/view/6

Abstract

Anthropology, in general, has recently been working toward reworking their systems to be better suited to the needs of descendent communities. Bioarchaeology, however, has been slower to adopt these efforts. In the spirit of reconciliation, it is important for all disciplines to self-reflect and critique the colonial systems that have been institutionalized their teaching and research. This paper serves as a theoretical exploration into the current practice of bioarchaeology and seeks to provide a theoretical model that could contribute toward the decolonization of the discipline to be appropriate for application in Canada. It discusses how to better orient theory to compliment ancestral knowledge and reorganize bioarchaeology so that it could be more useful to responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action (2015) and benefit the needs of descendants. It will proceed by reviewing the integration of social theory in bioarchaeol­ogy, providing a critique of the biocultural approach, and finish by proposing a theoretical model that seeks to contribute to the ongoing decolonization of bioarchaeology. The model that this paper proposes serves is a suggestion of how to better structure and conduct a project including ancient human remains to better optimize the application of archaeological theory as a compliment to traditional knowledge. It is formed on the bases of theories of personhood, shared histories, behavioral archaeology, and biocultural approaches to provide a pragmatic synthesis of theory for a community driven bioarchaeology.

PDF

References

Agarwal, Sabrina C. and Bonnie A. Glencross. 2011a. “Building a Social Bioarchaeology.” In Social Bioarchaeology, edited by Sabrina C. Agarwal and Bonnie A. Glencross, 1–11. Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Agarwal, Sabrina C. and Bonnie A. Glencross, eds. 2011b. Social Bioarchaeology. Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Ames, Kenneth M. and Andrew Martindale. 2014. “Rope Bridges and Cables: A Synthesis of Prince Rupert Harbour Archaeology.” Canadian Journal of Archaeology 38: 140–178. https://www. jstor.org/stable/43967081

Ashmore, Wendy and Pamela L. Geller. 2005. “Social Dimensions of Mortuary Space.” In Interacting with the Dead: Perspectives on Mortuary Archaeology for the New Millennium, edited by Gordon F. M. Rakita, Jane E. Buikstra, Lane A. Beck, and Sloan R. Williams, 81–92. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

Atalay, Sonya. 2006. “Indigenous Archaeol-ogy as Decolonizing Practice.” American Indian Quarterly 30, no. 3/4 (Summer/Autumn): 280–310. https:// www.jstor.org/stable/4139016

Becker, Sara K. and Sara L. Juengst. 2017. “Introduction: Establishing a Bioarchaeology of Community.” Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 28, no. 1: 6–12. https:// doi.org/10.1111/apaa.12084

Binford, Lewis R. 1981. “Behavioral Archae-ology and the ‘Pompeii Premise.’” Journal of Anthropological Research 37, no. 3 (Autumn): 195–208. https://doi.org/10.1086/jar.37.3.3629723

Blakely, Robert L. 1977. “Introduction: Changing Strategies for the Biological Anthropologist.” In Biocultural Adapta-tion in Prehistoric America, edited by Robert L. Blakely, 1–9. Southern Anthropological Society Proceedings, no. 11. Athens: The University of Georgia Press.

Buckberry, Jo. 2015. “The (Mis)Use of Adult Age Estimates in Osteology.” Annals of Human Biology 42, no. 4: 323–331. https://doi.org/10.3109/03014460.2015.1046926

Buikstra, Jane E. 1977. “Biocultural Dimen-sions of Archaeological Study: A Regional Perspective.” In Biocultural Adaptation in Prehistoric America, edited by Robert L. Blakely, 67–84. Southern Anthropological Society Proceedings, no. 11. Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Carr, Christopher. 1995. “Mortuary Practices: Their Social, Philosophical-Religious, Circumstantial, and Physical Determinants.” Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 2, no. 2: 105–200. https: //doi.org/10.1007/BF02228990

Fowler, Chris. 2004. The Archaeology of Personhood: An Anthropological Approach. London: Routledge.

Halperin, Edward C. 2007. “The Poor, the Black, and the Marginalized as the Source of Cadavers in United States Anatomical Education.” Clinical Anatomy 20, no. 5: 489–495. https://doi.org/10.1002/ca.20445

Harrison, Rodney. 2014. “Shared Histories: Rethinking ‘Colonized’ and ‘Colonizer’ in the Archaeology of Colonialism.” In Rethinking Colonial Pasts Through Archaeology, edited by Neal Ferris, Rodney Harrison, and Michael V. Wilcox, 37–56. Croydon: Oxford University Press.

Hillerdal, Charlotta, Anna Karlström, and Carl-Gösta Ojala. 2017. “Introduction.” In Archaeologies of “Us” and “Them”: Debating History, Heritage and Indigeneity, edited by Charlotta Hillerdal, Anna Karlström, and Carl-Gösta Ojala, 1–13. New York: Rutledge.

Hogg, Erin A. and John R. Welch. 2020. “Aboriginal Rights and Title for Archaeologists: A History of Archaeological Evidence in Canadian Litigation.” Journal of Social Archaeology 20, no. 2: 214–241. https://doi.org/10.1177/1469605320916099

Holliman, Sandra E. 2011. “Sex and Gender in Bioarchaeological Research: Theory, Method, and Interpretation.” In Social Bioarchaeology, edited by Sabrina C. Agarwal and Bonnie A. Glencross, 150–182, United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishing.

Huss-Ashmore, Rebecca. 2000. “Theory in Human Biology: Evolution, Ecology, Adaptability, and Variation.” In Human Biology: An Evolutionary and Biocultural Perspective, edited by Sara Stinson, Barry Bogin, Rebecca Huss-Ashmore, and Dennis O’Rourke, 1–25. Danvers: Wiley-Liss Inc.

Johnson, James A. 2016. “Assembling Identi-ties-in-Death: Miniaturizing Identity and the Remarkable in Iron Age Mortuary Practices of West-Central Europe. In Incomplete Archaeologies: Assembling Knowledge in the Past and Present, edited by Emily M. Bonney, Kathryn J. Franklin, and James A. Johnson, 48–63. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Johnson, Matthew, 2010. Archaeological Theory: An Introduction. 2nd ed. United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.

Köpe, K.C. 1997. “Consulting as a Contribution to Cooperation in Archaeology.” In Partnership in Archaeology: Perspectives of a Cross-Cultural Dialogue, edited by Beat Sitter-Liver and Christophe Uehlinger, 155–161. Fribourg: Fribourg University Press.

LaMotta, Vincent M. and Michael B. Schiffer. 2001. “Behavioral Archaeology: Toward a New Synthesis.” In Archaeological Theory Today, edited by Ian Hodder, 15–64. Cambridge: Polity.

Larson, Clark S. 2002. “Bioarchaeology: The Lives and Lifestyles of Past People.” Journal Archaeological Research 10, no. 2: 119–166. https://doi.org/10.1023/ A:1015267705803

Lewis, Krista. 2018. “Finding Archaeology in 2017: What is Archaeology and Why Are We Doing It? Why Should We Be Doing It?” American Anthropologist 120, no. 2: 291–304. https://doi.org/10.1111/aman. 13049

Lieverse, Angela R., Andrezj W. Weber, and Olga I. Goriunova. 2006. “Human Tapho¬nomy at Khuzhir-Nuge XIV, Siberia: A New Method for Documenting Skel¬etal Condition.” Journal of Archaeologi¬cal Science 33, no. 8: 1141–1151. https:// doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2005.12.001

Lightfoot, Kent G. 2008. “Collaborative Research Programs: Implications for the Practice of North American Archaeology.” In Collaborating at the Trowel’s Edge: Teaching and Learning in Indige-nous Archaeology, edited by Stephen W. Silliman, 211–227, Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Lindo, John, Alessandro Achilli, Ugo A. Perego, David Archer, Cristina Valdi-osera, Barbara Petzelt, Joycelynn Mitchell et al. 2017. “Ancient Individuals from the North American Northwest Coast Reveal 10,000 Years of Regional Genetic Continuity.” Proceedings of the National Acad¬emy of Sciences 114, no. 6: 4093–4098. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1620410114

Livingstone, Frank B. 1958. “Anthropological Implications of Sickle Cell Gene Distribu¬tion in West Africa.” American Anthropologist 60, no. 3: 533–562. https:// doi.org/10.1525/aa.1958.60.3.02a00110

Martin, Debra L. 2013. “Excavating Method, Theory and Data with George: Bringing Together Bioarchaeology and Social Theory.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology 150, no. S56: 190–191.

Martin, Debra L., Ryan P. Harrod, Ventura R. Pérez. 2013. Bioarchaeology: An Integrated Approach to Working with Human Remains. New York: Springer.

Martindale, Andrew. 2014. “Archaeology Taken to Court: Unravelling the Episte-mology of Cultural Tradition in the Context of Aboriginal Title Cases.” In Rethinking Colonial Pasts Through Archaeology, edited by Neal Ferris, Rodney Harrison, and Michael V. Wilcox, 397–422. New York: Oxford University Press.

McNiven, Ian J. 2016. “Theoretical Challenges of Indigenous Archaeology: Setting an Agenda.” American Antiquity 81, no. 1: 27–41. https://doi.org/10.7183 /0002-7316.81.1.27

Meyer, William J. 2017. “Might Community be the Key to Unlocking the Social Poten¬tial of Bioarchaeology?” Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 28, no. 1: 112–123. https:// doi.org/10.1111/apaa.12093

Milner, George R. and Jesper L. Boldsen. 2014. “Evaluating Old and New Skeletal Age Indicators—Which Ages of Transition Pass the ‘Box Test’?” American Journal of Physical Anthropology 153, no. S58: 186.

Milner, George R., James W. Wood, and Jesper L. Boldsen. 2008. “Advances in Paleodemography.” In Biological Anthropology of the Human Skeleton, edited by M. Anne Katzenberg and Shelley R. Saunders, 561–600. 2nd ed. Hoboken: Wiley-Liss.

Nicholas, George P. and Thomas D. Andrews. 1997. “Indigenous Archaeology in the Postmodern World.” In At a Crossroads: Archaeology and First Peoples in Canada, edited by George P. Nicholas and Thomas D. Andrews, 1–18. Burnaby: Archaeology Press.

Nicholas, George P., John Jules, and Carrie Dan. 2008. “Moving Beyond Kennewick: Other Native American Perspectives on Bioarchaeological Data and Intellectual Property Rights.” In Kennewick Man: Perspectives on the Ancient One, edited by Heather Burke, Claire Smith, Dorothy Lippert, Joe E. Watkins, and Larry J. Zimmerman, 233–243. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press.

Nicholas, George P., Amy Roberts, David M. Schaepe, Joe Watkins, Lyn Leader-Elliot, and Susan A. Rowley. 2011. “A Consideration of Theory, Principles and Practice in Collaborative Archaeology.” Archaeological Review from Cambridge 26, no. 2: 11–30. https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/aprci

Nuzzo, Angelica. 2010. “Dialectic, Understanding, and Reason: How Does Hegel’s Logic Begin?” In The Dimensions of Hegel’s Dialectic, edited by Nectarios G. Limnatis, 12–31. New York: Continuum.

Nystrom, Kenneth C. 2018. “Conclusion: Challenging the Narrative.” In Bioarchaeological Analyses and Bodies, edited by Pamela K. Stone, 231–242. Bioarchaeology and Social Theory. Cham: Springer.

Perry, Megan A. 2018. “Slouching Towards Theory: Implementing Bioarchaeological Research at Petra, Jordan.” In Engaging Archaeology: 25 Case Studies in Research Practice, edited by Stephen W. Silliman, 151–158. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.

Popper, Karl R. 1940. “What is Dialectic?” Mind 49, no. 196: 403–426. https://doi.org/10.1093/mind/XLIX.194.403

Preucel, Robert W. 2006. Archaeological Semiotics. Malden: Blackwell.

Rainville, Lynn. 2009. “Protecting Our Shared Heritage in African-American Cemeteries.” Journal of Field Archaeology 34, no. 2: 196–206. https://doi.org/10.1179 /009346909791071005

Rakita, Gordon F.M. and Jane E. Buikstra. 2005. “Bodies and Souls.” In Interacting with the Dead: Perspectives on Mortuary Archaeology for the New Millennium, edited by Gordon F.M. Rakita, Jane E. Buikstra, Lane A. Beck, and Sloan R. Williams, 93–95, Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

Reid, J. Jefferson, Michael B. Schiffer, and William L. Rathje. 1975. “Behavioral Archaeology: Four Strategies.” American Anthropologist 77, no. 4: 864–869. https://doi.org/10.1525/aa.1975.77.4.02a00090

Rico, Trinidad. 2017. “Stakeholder in Prac-tice: ‘Us,’ ‘Them’ and the Problem of Expertise.” In Archaeologies of “Us” and “Them”: Debating History, Heritage and Indigeneity, edited by Charlotta Hillerdal, Anna Karlström, and Carl-Gösta Ojala, 38–52, New York: Routledge.

Roberts, Charlotte. 2011. “The Bioarchaeol-ogy of Leprosy and Tuberculosis: A Comparative Study of Perceptions, Stigma, Diagnosis, and Treatment.” In Social Bioarchaeology, edited by Sabrina C. Agarwal and Bonnie A. Glencross, 252–281. Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology. Chichester: Wiley-Black-well.

Schaepe, David M., Susan Rowley, Stó:lō Xyolhmet S’olhetawtxw Sq’éq’ip (Stó:lō House of Respect Committee) Members, Darlene Weston, and Mike Richards. 2015. Final Project Report: The Journey Home – Guiding Intangible Knowledge Production in the Analysis of Ancestral Remains. Vancouver: Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage. http:// www.sfu.ca/ipinch/sites/default/files/resources/reports/the_journey_home_ver2_may2016.pdf

Schiffer, Michael B. 1975. “Archaeology as Behavioral Science.” American Anthro-pologist 77, no. 4: 836–848. https:// doi.org/10.1525/aa.1975.77.4.02a00060

Sofaer, Joanna. 2011. “Towards a Social Bioarchaeology of Age.” In Social Bioarchaeology, edited by Sabrina C. Agarwal and Bonnie A. Glencross, 285–311. Blackwell Studies in Global Archae-ology. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Supernant, Kisha. 2018. “Reconciling the Past for the Future: The Next 50 Years of Canadian Archaeology in the Post-TRC Era.” Canadian Journal of Archaeology 42, no. 1: 144–153.

Thomas, R. Brooke. 2016. “Exploring Biocultural Concepts: Anthropology for the Next Generation.” In New Directions in Biocultural Anthropology, edited by Molly K. Zuckerman and Debra L. Martin, 29–48. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.

Tilley, Lorna. 2015. Theory and Practice in the Bioarchaeology of Care. Bioarchaeol¬ogy and Social Theory. New York: Springer.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. 2015. Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Winni-peg: Truth and Reconciliation Commis-sion of Canada.

Trigger, Bruce G. 2006. A History of Archaeological Thought. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, 2014 SCC 44, [2014] 2 S.C.R. 256 (Can.).

Turner, Bethany L. and Haagen D. Klaus. 2016. “Biocultural Perspectives in Bioarchaeology.” In New Directions in Biocul-tural Anthropology, edited by Molly K. Zuckerman and Debra L. Martin, 429–451. Hoboken: Wiley Blackwell.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 2018. “World Heritage in Danger.” UNESCO World Heritage Convention. https:// whc.unesco.org/en/158 (accessed October 20, 2018).

Weise, Svenja, Jesper L. Boldsen, Jutta L. Gampe, and George R. Milner. 2009. “Calibrated Expert Inference and the Construction of Unbiased Paleodemo-graphic Mortality Profiles.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology 138, no. S48: 269.

Yanagisako, Sylvia J. 2005. “Flexible Disciplinarity: Beyond the Americanist Tradition.” In Unwrapping the Sacred Bundle: Reflections on the Discipline of Anthropology, edited by David A. Segal and Sylvia J. Yanagisako, 78–98, Durham: Duke University Press.

Zakrzewski, Sonia. 2011. “Population Migration, Variation, and Identity: An Islamic Population in Iberia.” In Social Bioarchaeology, edited by Sabrina C. Agarwal and Bonnie A. Glencross, 183–211. Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Zuckerman, Molly K. and George J. Armela-gos. 2011. “The Origins of Biocultural Dimensions in Bioarchaeology.” In Social Bioarchaeology, edited by Sabrina C. Agarwal and Bonnie A. Glencross, 13–43. Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Zuckerman, Molly K. and Debra L. Martin. 2016. “Introduction: The Development of Biocultural Perspectives in Anthropology.” In New Directions in Biocultural Anthropology, edited by Molly K. Zuckerman and Debra L. Martin, 7–26. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.

Zvelebil, Marek and Andrzej W. Weber. 2013. “Human Bioarchaeology: Group Identity and Individual Life Histories—Introduction.” Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 32, no. 3: 275–279. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.jaa.2012.01.003

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2020 Rebecca Bourgeois