Image courtesy of Chip Clark
- Bone Biographies of Early Americans - Dr. Doug Owsley and Kari Bruwelheide of the National Museum of Natural History explain what bones can tell you about people of the past. They discuss their research on early immigrants to the Chesapeake Bay region. Video courtesy of the History Channel.
- Meet the Smithsonian’s Bone Detectives - These are some of the tools forensic anthropologists at the National Museum of Natural History use to analyze human bones. What do the bones reveal about the individuals they belonged to? Video courtesy of the History Channel.
- Unearthing the Evidence - Watch how teams of archaeologists document and excavate burial sites. The video includes footage taken on-site during the recovery of burials at Jamestown and Historic St. Mary’s City. Video courtesy of the History Channel.
- Skeleton Keys - Aspects of skeletal growth are presented in this informational video. An emphasis is placed on centers of bone growth, epiphyseal closure, and tooth eruption as keys to determining childhood and young adult age. Video courtesy of the History Channel.
- Living and Dying in America - Excavations at Maryland’s first colonial settlement revealed three rare, lead coffins. Clues from the coffins and the bones they contained led to the identification of Philip Calvert and his wife Anne Wolseley Calvert. An infant in the third coffin remains unnamed. Chief archaeologist Dr. Henry Miller discusses the history and archaeology of this important site while Smithsonian anthropologist Doug Owsley shares what the skeletons revealed about life in St. Mary's City. Video courtesy of the History Channel.
- Shouldering the Load - A team of anthropologists, led by Dr. Doug Owsley of the National Museum of Natural History, uncover colonial remains in Maryland’s Eastern Shore, including of a young woman of African descent. Science reveals what her life was like and traces her ancestral origin to a region in West Africa. A likeness of young woman is created through the many steps of forensic facial reconstruction. Forensic facial reconstruction by Joanna Hughes. Sculpted bust by Studio EIS. Video courtesy of the History Channel.
- Quotes from the Jamestown Settlers - The winter of 1609-1610 in Jamestown is referred to as the "starving time." Disease, violence, drought, a meager harvest followed by a harsh winter, and poor drinking water left the majority of colonists dead that winter. Anthropologists continue to unravel the events leading to near-destruction of the Jamestown settlement. The words recorded by colonists themselves provide important clues. Video developed for the Written in Bone exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History.
- Discovering Jane - Technology used in medicine to create bone models for surgeons, called additive manufacturing or 3D printing, was employed to create a digital replica of the skull. High-resolution imaging shows cuts in the skull and tibia. Video Animation: Stephen L. Rouse & Additive Manufacturing for Medicine; Computed Tomography: Siemens Medical Solutions, Inc.; Stereolithography: Medical Modeling; Mimics Software: Materilaize; Forensic Sculpture: Studio EIS; Funding: Roy E. Hock and Margaret Nelson Fowler.
- Meet Anne Calvert - Skeletal CT scans and forensic facial reconstruction of Anne Wolseley Calvert, reveal the health and likeness of the first wife of Philip Calvert. He had come to America in 1657 and served as chancellor and governor of Maryland. At the time of her death (ca. 1680), Anne Calvert would have been the most socially prominent woman in Maryland. Design, photography and animation by Smithsonian Staff.
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- Fact Sheets (Need a PDF reader? Download here.)
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- Biographies (Need a PDF reader? Download here.
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- Publications - Online
The Secret in the Cellar: A "Written in Bone" forensic mystery from colonial America, a webcomic about the discovery at Leavy Neck
Written In Bone Educator's Manual - a Teacher's Guide
(Need a PDF reader? Download here.)
- Jane's Story, Historic Jamestowne website
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- Publications - Print
Written in Bone; Reading the Remains of the 17th Century (AnthroNotes Volume 28 No. 1 Spring 2007). Dr. Douglas Owsley and Kari Bruwelheide give an overview in this article of their work for the exhibition, Written in Bone: Forensic Files of the 17th-Century Chesapeake (2009-2014). (Need a PDF reader? Download here.)
Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland by Sally Walker is a companion volume to Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History exhibition Written in Bone: Forensic Files of the 17-Century Chesapeake (2009-2014). Join Walker as she works alongside the scientists investigating colonial-era graves near Jamestown, Virginia, as well as other sites in Maryland.
Written in Bone: Bone Biographer's Casebook features over 150 archival photographs never before released from the forensic files of the Division of Physical Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.
Kennewick Man:The Scientific Investigation of an Ancient American Skeleton, Edited by Douglas W. Owsley and Richard L. Jantz, published by Texas A&M University Press. This book outlines in exquisite detail where this man had lived for many years, what he ate, and his physical attributes. Intensive observation and analysis brought together many discplines in the physical and biological sciences to put together this remarkable story. (Credit: Photo by Chip Clarke, Smithsonian Instution.)
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