Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland
How do forensic anthropologists examining colonial-era skeletons determine that one is the remains of a fourteen-year-old boy who was shot by an arrow, that another is a respected English trader, and that a third is an indentured servant who died of suspicious causes? Here is a look into how scientists use forensic evidence and historical records to identify the remains of people that have been buried in the Chesapeake region for hundreds of years. Source notes. Time line. Selected blibliography. Further reading. Index. Map. Charts. Diagrams. Full-color photographs and reproductions. A 2010 ALA Notable Children's Book.
JLG Release: Apr 2009
Awards & Honors
2010 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist; 2010 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, Recommended Book; 2010 ALA Notable Children’s Books, OlderReaders; ALA Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults 2010; NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2010, History/Life & Culture in the Americas: Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books of 2009
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews*, School Library Journal*, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
Junior Library Guild
With copious details and clear explanations that give the reader a true understanding of the processes involved, author Sally M. Walker explains how scientists are able to determine the age, sex, and ethnicity of an individual based on his or her remains. For example, certain bones are shaped differently in men and women, and individuals of distinct ethnicities tend to have differently shaped skulls. Using forensic evidence as well as information from historical sources, two individuals are even identified by name. In another case, Dr. Owsley concludes that a person died of unnatural causes. The scientists and author are careful not to jump to conclusions; the evidence is painstakingly gathered and presented convincingly.
Walker writes that she felt a “sense of awe” at touching a person who had lived and died several hundred years ago. Readers will feel similarly as they follow her investigations—they will awe at the remarkable stories the remains tell and at the skill, knowledge, and care scientists use to extract the information.
8 3/8" x 10 1/2"
Level 9; Points: 6;
Scholastic Reading Counts
Level 11.4; Points: 9;
Potentially Sensitive Areas
Skeletons, Graves, Colonial America, Forensics, Anthropology, Jamestown, Virginia, James Fort, Soil, Scientific methodology, Archaeology, Decomposition, Age, Gender, Ancestry, Conserving scientific artifacts, Carbon isotopes, Burial rituals, Indentured servants, Maryland, Religious tolerance, Lead coffins, Diseases, Dental care, Identity, African slaves, Farm labor, Facial reconstruction, Lessons from the past,