George Milner

George Milner

Distinguished Professor of Anthropology
119 Carpenter Building University Park, PA 16802
(814) 865-2509
George Milner

Curriculum Vitae


B.A., Beloit College, 1975
M.A., Northwestern University, 1976
Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1982

Professional Bio

Professional Bio

Areas of Specialization:

George Milner's areas of specialization are in human osteology as well as eastern North American archaeology.  Topics of particular research interest include the demographic structure of past populations, long-term trends in settlement patterns and human land use, and warfare among small-scale societies.  His interests have taken him to Europe, Africa, and the Pacific, in addition to the American Midwest and Southeast, to conduct fieldwork and study skeletal collections

Research Activities and Interests:

Dr. Milner's osteological and archaeological research focuses on the prehistory of eastern North America, especially the late prehistoric Midwest and Southeast. Topics of special interest include the development of Mississippian chiefdoms (particularly Cahokia in Illinois), sedentary Archaic hunter-gathers, pre-Columbian warfare, mortuary practices, prehistoric disease experience, and age estimation methods.

Field and Museum Work:

  • Over 65 months taking part in archaeological surveys and excavations on mortuary and habitation sites in the United States (Illinois, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Missouri), Denmark, Micronesia (Saipan, CNMI), and Egypt.
  • Studied modern and archaeological skeletons from the United States, Denmark, Portugal, South Africa, Egypt, Saipan, and Thailand; also prehistoric artifacts from the United States (Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin).

Courses Taught:

  • ANTH 2 Introduction to Archaeology
  • ANTH 285 Culture Contact
  • ANTH 410 Osteology (Syllabus)
  • ANTH 411 Forensic Skeletal Anthropology (Syllabus)
  • ANTH 423 The Evolution of American Indian Culture (Syllabus)
  • ANTH 428 Theory and Method in Archaeology
  • ANTH 521 Current Literature Archaeology
  • ANTH 588 Method and Theory in Archaeology

Selected Publications:

  • 2021 (Boldsen JL, Milner GR, Ousley SD.) Paleodemography: From Archaeology and Skeletal Age Estimation to Life in the Past. Yearbook of Biological Anthropology. [early view 17/12/2021, doi: 10.1002/ajpa.24462].
  • 2021 (Milner GR, Boldsen JL, Ousley SD, Getz SM, Weise S, Tarp P.) Great Expectations: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of Adult Skeletal Age Estimation. In Remodeling Forensic Skeletal Age: Modern Applications and New Research Directions, Algee-Hewitt BFB, Kim J, eds. pp. 139-154. Academic Press, London.
  • 2020 (Rasmussen KL, Milner GR, Delbey T, Skytte L, Søvsø M, Callesen F, Boldsen JL.) Copper Exposure in Medieval and Post-Medieval Denmark and Northern Germany: Its Relationship to Residence Location and Social Position. Heritage Science 8:18. []
  • 2019 (Milner GR.) Bridging the Pre-Contact and Post-Contact Divide in Eastern North America: Prior Conditions Set the Stage for Historic-Period Outcomes. In Bioarchaeologists Speak Out: Deep Time Perspectives on Contemporary Issues. Buikstra JE, ed. pp. 79-107. Springer, Cham, Switzerland.
  • 2018 (Milner GR, Boldsen JL, Ousley SD, Getz SM, Weise S, Tarp P, Steadman DW.) Selective Mortality in Middle-Aged American Women with Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis (DISH). PLOS One 13:e0202283. [].
  • 2017 (Milner GR, Boldsen JL). Life Not Death: Epidemiology from Skeletons. International Journal of Paleopathology 17:26-39.
  • 2015 (Boldsen JL, Milner GR, Weise S.) Cranial Vault Trauma and Selective Mortality in Medieval to Early Modern Denmark. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 112:1721-1726.
  • 2013 (Milner GR, Chaplin G, Zavodny E.) Conflict and Societal Change in Late Prehistoric Eastern North America. Evolutionary Anthropology 22:96-102.
  • 2012 (Boldsen JL, Milner GR.) An Epidemiological Approach to Paleopathology. In A Companion to Paleopathology, Grauer AL, ed, pp.114-132. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester.
  • 2012 (GR Milner, JL Boldsen) Transition Analysis: A Validation Study with Known-Age Modern American Skeletons. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 148:98-110. (Supporting Program and Manual)
  • 2012 (GR Milner, JL Boldsen) Humeral and Femoral Head Diameters in Recent White American Skeletons. Journal of Forensic Sciences 57:35-40. (Supporting Program)
  • 2011 (GR Milner, RJ Ferrell) Conflict and Death in a Late Prehistoric Community in the American Midwest.Anthropologischer Anzeiger 68:415-436.2010 (G.R. Milner, G. Chaplin) Eastern North American Population at A.D. 1500.American Antiquity 75:707-726. (Supporting Data)
  • 2009 (G.R. Milner, J.E. Buikstra, M.D. Wiant) Archaic Burial Sites in the Midcontinent. In Archaic Societies: Diversity and Complexity Across the Midcontinent, T.E. Emerson, D. McElrath, and A. Fortier (eds.), pp. 115-135. State University of New York Press, Albany.
  • 2008 (G.R. Milner, J.W. Wood, J.L. Boldsen) Advances in Paleodemography. In Biological Anthropology of the Human Skeleton, 2nd ed. M.A. Katzenberg and S.R. Saunders (eds.), pp. 561-600. Wiley-Liss, New York.
  • 2007  Warfare, Population, and Food Production in Prehistoric Eastern North America, In Warfare and Violence Among the Indigenous Peoples of North America: Problems in Paradise. R.J. Chacon and R.G. Mendoza (eds.), pp. 182-201.University of Arizona Press, Tucson
  • 2006 (G.R. Milner, J.E. Buikstra) Skeletal Biology: Northeast. In Handbook of North American Indians: Environment, Origins, and Population, vol. 3, D.H. Ubelaker (ed.), pp. 630-639. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC.
  • 2006 (D. R. Snow, M. Gahegan, C. L. Giiles, K. G. Hirth, G. R. Milner, P. Mitra, J. Z. Wang) Cybertools in Archaeology.Science 311:958-959.
  • 2005 (R.W. Jefferies, V.D. Thompson, G.R. Milner) Archaic Hunter-Gatherer Landscape Use in West-Central Kentucky.Journal of Field Archaeology 30:3-23.
  • 2004  The Moundbuilders. Thames and Hudson, London.
  • 2002  (J.L. Boldsen, G.R. Milner, L.W. Konigsberg, J.W. Wood) Transition Analysis: A New Method for Estimating Age from Skeletons. In Paleodemography: Age Distributions from Skeletal Samples. R.D. Hoppa and J.W. Vaupel (eds.), pp. 73-106. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • 2001  (G.R. Milner, D.G. Anderson, M.T. Smith) The Distribution of Eastern Woodlands Peoples at the Prehistoric and Historic Interface. In Societies in Eclipse: Archaeology of the Eastern Woodlands Indians, A.D. 1400-1700. D. Brose, C. W. Cowan, and R. C. Mainfort (eds.), pp. 9-18. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC.
  • 1999  Warfare in Prehistoric and Early Historic Eastern North America. Journal of Archaeological Research 7:105-151.
  • 1998  The Cahokia Chiefdom: The Archaeology of a Mississippian Society. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. (2006, reprint edition, University Press of Florida, Gainesville)
  • 1992   (J.W. Wood, G.R. Milner, H.C. Harpending, K.M. Weiss) The Osteological Paradox: Problems of Inferring Prehistoric Health from Skeletal Samples. Current Anthropology 33:343-370.