Forensic Anthropology

Contemporary Theory and Practice

Forensic anthropology is a vastly popular and rapidly changing profession, yet to date there has been no volume that reflects the current state of the discipline and forecasts its future. The first comprehensive text in the field, "Forensic Anthropology: Contemporary Theory and Practice" examines the medical, legal, ethical and humanitarian issues associated with forensic anthropology, current forensic methods and biohistorical investigations.

"Forensic Anthropology" offers a unique synthesis of theoretical and methodological coverage. Rather than simply describing methodology, Komar and Buikstra place forensic anthropology in the broader context of medico-legal death investigations, critically evaluating practical techniques in a scientific framework and detailing the anthropologist's role in relation to both law enforcement and the medical examiner or coroner. The authors review the current state of the field, emphasizing recent changes to the judicial guidelines regarding the admissibility of scientific evidence in court. They highlight the impact of these rulings, the increased need for scientific rigor and the evolving nature of anthropological studies, preparing students to function effectively in the demanding judicial system that will evaluate their work in the future. The text also stresses the vital importance of research in the development of forensic applications of anthropology.


Jane Buikstra is a Regents' Professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. Her research encompasses bioarchaeology, paleopathology, forensic anthropology and paleodemography. Among her current work is an investigation of the evolutionary history of ancient tuberculosis in the Americas based on archaeologically recovered pathogen DNA.

Praise for this book

This book is definitely one that I would use in my classes. As a reference text, it is one that all practicing forensic anthropologists will want to own and will want their students to have. Other volumes do not provide a comprehensive resource for the challenges facing us today. Such a volume as (this one) will certainly advance that cause.

Mary H. Manhein, deputy coroner of East Baton Rouge Parish Louisiana State University

"This book is superior to any other source on the market today. In recommending this book to colleagues I should note its coverage of the U.S. legal system, enlightened discussion of the NAGPRA issue and related ethical problems, its adequate history of the American advances in forensic anthropology, and the excellent case histories that it includes."

Kenneth A. R. Kennedy Cornell University
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Date published
Oxford University Press

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