"Bones are Forever,
Physical anthropology is a fascinating field. Examining the bones of the dead may sound somewhat strange (even yucky) to some people, but it can uncover many mysteries and lost stories.
Nevertheless, I still enjoy physical anthropology very much, so it's not surprising that one of my favorite authors is Kathy Reichs. She solves murders by examining at bones, sometimes exhumed from the ground (and sometimes hundreds of years old).
I highly recommend books of Kathy Reichs.
A Cranial Conundrum
One of the most interesting anthropological specimens from the Niobrara digs was a human skull, found whole, which would have produced very different results if it only one half of it had been found.
Examining the right half of the skull only, physical anthropologists would place the age at death as approximately 60 years old. Examining the left half of the skull only, physical anthropologists would place the age at death as approximately half of that: about 27 years old.
When a baby is born, the cranium is in five separate pieces, with a large hole in the center (called the "Fontanella" and making a soft spot at the top where the brain is vulnerable). As the person grows, and the skull expands a bit, the fontanella closes and the separate pieces knit together forming "sutures".
The jawbone was also interesting. Most of it was normal bone color (orangy-brown), but the bottom of the jaw was green. This was undoubtedly from a copper jaw covering, indicating that this was a person of very high station -- possibly a chief.