Life not death: Epidemiology from skeletons

George R. Milner, Jesper L. Boldsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Analytically sophisticated paleoepidemiology is a relatively new development in the characterization of past life experiences. It is based on sound paleopathological observations, accurate age-at-death estimates, an explicit engagement with the nature of mortality samples, and analytical procedures that owe much to epidemiology. Of foremost importance is an emphasis on people, not skeletons. Transforming information gleaned from the dead, a biased sample of individuals who were once alive at each age, into a form that is informative about past life experiences has been a major challenge for bioarchaeologists, but recent work shows it can be done. The further development of paleoepidemiology includes essential contributions from paleopathology, archaeology or history (as appropriate), and epidemiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-39
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Paleopathology
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Archaeology


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