The study of human remains offers a unique perspective on past human life and behavior. A person’s experiences, life history, and treatment after death leave traces on their bones. Bioarchaeology is the contextual analysis of human remains that combines osteological (skeletal) data with cultural information from burial and settlement contexts in order to examine the conditions of ancient life. Some areas of study include paleodemography, diet (through chemical analyses as well as dentition), health and paleopathology, violence and trauma, and biological and genetic relatedness (through non-metric traits as well as DNA analyses). Tracing how these features vary and change between communities and over time can shed light on social and cultural processes.

Project ArAGATS has excavated a number of burials at Hnaberd, Mantash, Tsaghkahovit, and Gegharot. Human remains from these sites have been inventoried, recorded, and analyzed for basic paleodemographic information (age, sex, stature, etc.) and paleopathology as a part of Maureen Marshall’s dissertation research.  In summer 2011, Marshall conducted isotope analysis at the Archaeological Chemistry Lab at ASU for information on diet and movement during the Bronze Age.  As the collection of human remains from the Tsaghkahovit plain continues to grow, these data will be further investigated and can offer unique information on social and economic life in ancient Armenia.