The Arizona State Museum, the oldest and largest anthropology museum in the Southwest, has served as the state’s official archaeological repository and the largest non-federal archaeological repository in the country. One of our principal functions is to administer Arizona’s Antiquities Act and assist state & federal agencies in enforcing related legislation and repatriation.
The Bioarchaeology Section of the Research Division of the Arizona State Museum provides a series of professional services to public and private institutions in the state of Arizona for a nominal fee. Burial excavation and osteological analysis services are provided by museum employees and anthropology students in the Bioarchaeology Laboratory who are trained in osteology as well as archaeology.
The objectives of the program are to facilitate compliance with the requirements of state laws regarding the discovery of human remains, to improve the recording of basic inventory data in the field, and to add to our knowledge of prehistoric lifeways while ensuring that human remains are treated with dignity and respect. We charge a standard rate of $40.00 per hour for these services, however, terms of specific agreements can be negotiable.
Human Burial Excavation
Arizona's antiquities laws require that the excavation of human burials from archaeological contexts be conducted by a qualified bioarchaeologist. The Arizona State Museum provides this professional service in conjunction with a mission to develop and train future bioarchaeologists. Services include the excavation of human remains from any archaeological contexts, including cremation and inhumation burials.
Basic osteological analysis will be conducted on all human bone recovered, in order to reconstruct a biological profile for each individual represented. This minimally includes a skeletal inventory, metric measurements, and estimations of age at death, sex, stature, skeletal anomalies, and the identification of pathological conditions. Depending on context, estimations of biological affinity or population relatedness may be offered as well. Examination of human skeletal remains is entirely non-destructive in nature.
A final report will be submitted as soon as possible after the completion of excavation and/or analyses. The report will contain detailed descriptions of each feature and the biological profile for each identified individual in the sample. This information will be compiled and summarized to highlight the composition of the sample in order to reconstruct a profile of the population as well as the individual. Results will further be considered in relation to culturally, temporally and/or geographically relevant samples to provide a synthetic discussion of the significance of the sample in broader contexts. Raw data tables will also be included to facilitate data sharing. Please feel free to contact us with any specific questions or comments.
James Watson, Ph.D.
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