Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Bioarchaeology Laboratory

Bioarchaeology Laboratory

Recent and Ongoing Research Projects

  1. Refining skeletal age-estimation methods using well-documented modern collections from different parts of the world.
  2. Using refined age-estimation methods to improve knowledge of ancient population structures (paleodemography) and disease experiences (paleoepidemiology).
  3. Estimating late prehistoric eastern North American population distribution and size.
  4. Using skeletal and settlement data to identify spatial and temporal patterning in archaeological evidence for late prehistoric (ca. AD 1000-1600) warfare, followed by an examination of the demographic, social, and environmental reasons for variation in the level of intergroup conflict.
  5. Identifying the chemical life histories of medieval and early modern people in Denmark, including variation in the elemental composition of cortical bone microstructure, notably individual osteons.

The MoundbuildersAn overview of prehistoric eastern North America written for the public that includes research results from the lab.

George R. Milner The Moundbuilders

Supplementary Data

Milner & Chaplin, 2010, American Antiquity

Milner & Boldsen, 2012, Journal of Forensic Sciences (courtesy Jens Boldsen)

Milner and Boldsen, 2012, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Steve Ousley program version

Boldsen, Milner, and Boldsen, n.d., American Journal of Physical Anthropology

Students in Osteology baked a skull cake as a study aid, although it did not last too long.
Students in Osteology baked a skull cake as a study aid, although it did not last too long.
Skeletons from the Archaic through Historic periods occasionally show signs of warfare-related trauma.
Excavating in Egypt on a site in the Nile delta.
Working with George Chaplin, the size of the population of eastern North America at c. AD 1500 was estimated from a density surface created by interpolating from population concentrations identified through the use of archaeological materials. Some areas were more heavily occupied (dark) than others (light), with a large part of the Midwest being depopulated relative to land elsewhere.