Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2010


Published in Great Plains Research 20.1 (Spring 2010): 140-41.


Copyright 2010 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Used by permission.


This volume is a capstone of George W. Gill’s long and productive (and continuing) career at the University of Wyoming, where he has spent the last three and a half decades teaching and in pursuit of the data encapsulated here. Contributions from 21 scholars, most of them his students, present studies of bioarchaeology and skeletal biology, especially in the fields of demography, pathology, and morphology. The 19 chapters (and the introductory comments by William M. Bass, Douglas H. Ubelaker, and the senior editor) cover 10,000 years on the Northwestern Plains, from the Archaic period to historic times, encompassing studies of Native Americans, Euro-American pioneers and military men, and Chinese laborers.

Basic skeletal data are provided for specialists in other fields, but in many respects this is a general book that provides new insights into Native American and Euro-American biology. Examples: there is less sexual dimorphism in the former than in the latter; the hunters and gatherers in the Northwestern Plains had fewer dental caries than their corn-consuming agricultural eastern neighbors and showed more accidental injury, while the agriculturists had more nutritional and metabolic problems; the hunter-gatherers had more severe cranial trauma than the agriculturists; and some Archaic populations appeared to have more in common with earlier Paleoindians than with more recent Plains populations.