Physical Anthropology Department
The Department of Physical Anthropology develops, interprets, displays, evaluates, and curates the skeletal collections at the San Diego Museum of Man. These specimens are conserved, documented, photographed, and stored in the Physical Anthropology Laboratory.
The staff in our Laboratory has an interest in, and commitment to, collection-oriented research in biological anthropology using contemporary techniques. This research is conducted by current staff and interns, as well as outside scholars and students. We also contribute to the varied educational and administrative activities of the institution, including exhibit development, lectures (onsite and offsite), and seminars (Seminars in the Forensic Sciences).
We also perform services for the community. For instance, we will perform field excavations and/or visit sites to identify osteological materials. We will examine, identify, and analyze skeletal materials for cultural resource management agencies responsible for the excavation of human remains. This analysis includes an osteological inventory, sex and age estimation, stature estimation, pathology and trauma descriptions, activity and occupational markers, and dental analysis. We will also accept archaeological human remains for safekeeping until reburial is arranged and scheduled by a Native American group.
The Hrdlička Paleopathology Collection: This collection consists of approximately 1000 human bone specimens showing disease, trauma, and cranial surgery. The collection was assembled by Aleš Hrdlička of the Smithsonian Institution for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Most of the specimens were collected in Peru in 1913 from over 30 vandalized sites. An important part of the collection is a series of 70 trephined skulls.
|Trephination by cutting|
The Stanford-Meyer Osteopathology Collection: This collection was a gift from Stanford University in 1981. It consists of approximately 3500 human bone specimens from 1500 dissecting room cadavers. It was used from the early 1900s to 1960 by the Anatomy Department of Stanford University to train medical students in bone diseases and disorders. An important aspect of the collection is that is was made before antibiotics, so the reaction of bone to infection is well documented.
The Boring Collection of Human Skeletal Anatomy: This collection was a gift from Professor Eugene Boring of Chaffey College. It consists of approximately 2000 specimens ranging from single bones to full skeletons. Its origin is India, where it was assembled in the 1950s and 1960s when India was exporting skeletal material to teaching institutions around the world. An important part of the collection is a series of 85 skulls showing various dental diseases and conditions.
Early Man Busts: Ten sculptural busts were made by the artist Mascré for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. They range from “Java Man” to Cro-Magnon.
|Peruvian Mummy Bundle, child age 4-5|
Wenner-Gren Foundation Casts: There are 202 cataloged casts relating to human evolution. They were made from human fossils in worldwide museums in the 1960s by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.