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Article
November 1964

Bones, Bodies and Disease: Ancient Peoples and Places; Evidence of Disease and Abnormality in Early Man.

Author Affiliations
 

By Calvin Wells, MD. Price, 30s net. Pp 288, with 125 illustrations. Thames and Hudson, 30 Bloomsbury St, London, WC1, 1964.

Arch Intern Med. 1964;114(5):711. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.03860110181031

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Abstract

Bones, Bodies and Disease is concerned with the technical aspects of diseases which have left traces on prehistoric human skeletal remains and with depictions of disease in primitive sculptures, drawings, and paintings. Wells' studies in anthropology and medicine have proved to be an excellent preparation for this book which is actually a history of prehistoric and primitive medicine. The book is written for the medical historian. Paleopathology is clearly and succinctly presented. The evidence available, the types of abnormalities, skeletal adaptations, cannibalism, trephination, radiographic evidence, artificial interference, and the simulation of pathological conditions by postmortem changes and soil conditions are all discussed. Some of the author's statements may be considered a little too dogmatic by experts, and he demolishes a few old chestnuts, but his views are refreshingly new and supported by evidence. His conclusions about prehistoric disease, as revealed by newly devised radiological techniques for examining bones, may be

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