Chapter 4. Macroscopic Analysis and Data Collection in Palaeopathology

  1. Ron Pinhasi PhD Lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology member2 and
  2. Simon Mays PhD Human Skeletal Biologist Visiting Lecturer member Secretary3
  1. Anne L. Grauer PhD Professor Presidential Faculty Fellowship

Published Online: 27 DEC 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470724187.ch4

Advances in Human Palaeopathology

Advances in Human Palaeopathology

How to Cite

Grauer, A. L. (2007) Macroscopic Analysis and Data Collection in Palaeopathology, in Advances in Human Palaeopathology (eds R. Pinhasi and S. Mays), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470724187.ch4

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Department of Archaeology, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

  2. 3

    English Heritage Centre for Archaeology, Fort Cumberland, Eastney, Portsmouth PO4 9LD, UK

Author Information

  1. Department of Anthropology, Loyola University of Chicago, 6525 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60626, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 27 DEC 2007
  2. Published Print: 14 DEC 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470036020

Online ISBN: 9780470724187



  • osteological standards;
  • visual observation;
  • differential diagnosis;
  • bioarchaeology;
  • terminology


Advances in palaeopathology usually bring to mind new technologically complex techniques. Ironically, behind all skeletal analyses rest macroscopic evaluation and data collection, methods that are comparably less exciting points of discussion and publication. However, changes in theoretical frameworks upon which skeletal analyses are undertaken compel palaeopathologists to re-evaluate how palaeopathological lesions are assessed and recorded. This requires researchers to focus on recognizing numerous skeletal changes that might not be pathological, to record a greater number of variables associated with the archaeological/medical context, to focus on careful diagnosis using multiple means of inquiry, and to collect and record data based upon criteria and methods used and disseminated by past and present researchers.