Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

August 1995


Published in Great Plains Research 5:2 (Fall 1995). Copyright © 1995 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


This volume reports the results of studies on skeletal remains throughout the Great Plains from early to recent times. Skeletons from the W. H. Over Museum Collection in South Dakota, excavated by Over, William Bass, and W. R. Hurt, form the volume's analytic core, with other collections providing necessary context. Portions of the Over skeletal collection have been reported on previously. When the collection was mandated for reburial in 1985, however, Owsley and Jantz arranged for comprehensive osteological analysis by numerous specialists, resulting in this volume.

Thirty-two chapters by 39 authors are offered on the topics of Great Plains disease and mortality, population variation indicated by morphometric characteristics, subsistence strategies revealed through bone chemistry, and warfare. An introductory section presents an overview of burial contexts. Here, Blakeslee places individual archaeological sites within a cultural- historical framework that will serve as a reference for years to come. Summaries of Southern Plains cultural history (Brooks) and ethnohistorically documented mortuary practices of Northern Plains groups (Snortland) are also included.