Anthropologists investigate patterns of life, aging, death, and birth in prehistoric populations using paleodemography. This field provides information about human vital rates from the past—critical data about the evolution of our species that cannot be obtained anywhere else. It borrows from forensic science, medicine, archaeology, and modern ethnography.
Richard Meindl will describe prehistoric health and demography as revealed by the skeletons of a lakeside village cemetery from 1,000 years ago, as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Geneva Chapter of Sigma Xi, a national scientific research society. He will speak on “Life, Death and Age Structure in a Prehistoric American Indian Population from Ohio” at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14, in the Geneva Room. The talk is free and the public is invited.
Meindl is professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at Kent State University. He has conducted research in population genetics, human and primate evolution and human ergonomics. His work for the Connecticut Valley Project focused on the historical demography of western New England, especially the mortality transition of the 19th century. Recently, Meindl has studied the paleodemography of an archaeological area known as the Shell Mound Region of western Kentucky. These were pre-agricultural peoples whose skeletal remains and artifacts have been recovered from sites more than 4,000 years old.
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society is the international honor society of science and engineering. Founded in 1886, it is one of the oldest and largest interdisciplinary scientific organizations in the world. Each year Sigma Xi sponsors a Distinguished Lecture series at various sites around the country.