Becky's Reviews > Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland

Written in Bone by Sally M. Walker
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's review
Nov 15, 09

bookshelves: 2009, youth, nonfiction
Read in November, 2009

4 1/2 stars
Walker tells a fascinating story of the work done by forensic anthropologists working in the Chesapeake Bay area. Forensic scientists can glean an incredible amount of information from skeletal remains and the surrounding gravesite. Age, gender, ancestry, occupation, cause of death can often be determined. It was fascinating to learn that hundreds of years after an individual's death certain tests can be performed on the skeletal remains that reveal what green plants comprised the major portion of the person's diet--in this case helping researchers to determine if a person had been in the Americas only a short time or had lived there for many years (much corn in the diet).

Walker clearly explains complex scientific forensic techniques. She provides just enough detail for her readers to understand the science without overwhelming a non-scientific audience.

The author is skilled at imparting the suspense scientists feel as they make important discoveries. She does a good job of explaining why such work is important in advancing our knowledge of history.

A beautifully designed book with clear color photos and diagrams that enhance the text.

Grades 6+

The book has ties to a very recent exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution.
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