This volume brings together a range of contributors with different and hybrid academic backgrounds to explore, through bioarchaeology, the past human experience in the territories that span Mesoamerica.

This handbook provides systematic bioarchaeological coverage of skeletal research in the ancient Mesoamericas. It offers an integrated collection of engrained, bioculturally embedded explorations of relevant and timely topics, such as population shifts, lifestyles, body concepts, beauty, gender, health, foodways, social inequality, and violence. The additional treatment of new methodologies, local cultural settings, and theoretic frames rounds out the scope of this handbook. The selection of 36 chapter contributions invites readers to engage with the human condition in ancient and not-so-ancient Mesoamerica and beyond.

The Routledge Handbook of Mesoamerican Bioarchaeology is addressed to an audience of Mesoamericanists, students, and researchers in bioarchaeology and related fields. It serves as a comprehensive reference for courses on Mesoamerica, bioarchaeology, and Native American studies.

chapter 0.1|2 pages


ByVera Tiesler

chapter 0.2|15 pages


ByVera Tiesler

part Part I|114 pages

Framing Mesoamerican Bioarchaeology

chapter 1.1|12 pages

The Early Days of Mesoamerican Osteology

ByAndrew K. Scherer

chapter 1.2|16 pages

Management and Conservation of Human Remains from Mesoamerica

Ethical, Legal, and Technical Recommendations
ByMaria del Carmen Lerma Gómez, Juan Manuel Argüelles San Milán

chapter 1.3|26 pages

The Preceramic Skeletal Record of Mexico and Central America

ByJames C. Chatters, Joaquín Arroyo-Cabrales, Pilar Luna-Erreguerena

chapter 1.4|34 pages

North of Mesoamerica

Bioarchaeology of the Northwest, North-Central, and Northeast
ByPatricia Olga Hernández Espinoza, James T. Watson

part Part II|103 pages

Across the Human Landscapes of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica

chapter 2.1|15 pages

The Bioarchaeology of Preclassic Mesoamerica and the Advent of Statehood

ByMónica Rodríguez Pérez

chapter 2.2|18 pages

Bioarchaeology of Oaxaca

Major Developments in the Study of 3500 Years of Mortuary Practice in Southern Mexico
ByRicardo Higelin Ponce de León, Guy David Hepp

chapter 2.3|13 pages

Maya Bioarchaeology

ByAndrew K. Scherer, Joshua T. Schnell

chapter 2.4|17 pages

The People of the Southern Central Region of Veracruz

ByCarlos Serrano Sánchez, Mireya Montiel Mendoza

chapter 2.6|16 pages

The Heartland of the Empire

Studying the Aztecs
ByXimena Chávez Balderas, Diana K. Moreiras Reynaga, Diana Bustos Ríos

part Part III|89 pages

The Bioarchaeology of Cities, Neighborhoods, and Communities

chapter 3.1|31 pages

The Inhabitants of Monte Albán

A Bioarchaeological Approach
ByLourdes Márquez Morfín, Aurora Marcela Pérez-Flórez

chapter 3.2|20 pages

The Multiethnic Population of a Teotihuacan Neighborhood Center

Bioarchaeological, Archaeometric, and Ancient DNA Analyses
ByLinda R. Manzanilla-Naim

chapter 3.3|16 pages

The Community of Xcambó, a Classic-Period Maya Port in the Yucatan Peninsula

ByThelma Sierra Sosa, Allan Ortega-Muñoz, Andrea Cucina

chapter 3.4|20 pages

Bioarchaeology at Copán, Honduras

Spearheading Maya Bioarchaeology
ByShintaro Suzuki, T. Douglas Price

part Part IV|80 pages

The Body as a Cultural Construct

chapter 4.2|16 pages

Royal Bodies

The Life Histories of Janaab' Pakal and the "Red Queen" of Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico
ByErik Velásquez García, Vera Tiesler

chapter 4.3|22 pages


A Body-Anchored Approach to Mesoamerican Mortuary Analyses
ByGrégory Pereira, Hemmamuthé Goudiaby

part Part V|59 pages

Life Style, Diet, and Health

chapter 5.1|18 pages

Mesoamerican Paleopathology

A Bioarchaeological Approach to Diseases From the Past
ByRaúl López Pérez

chapter 5.2|14 pages

Living Conditions, Gender, and Stature

ByMarie Elaine Danforth, Jaime Thomas, Peter Mercier

chapter 5.3|25 pages

Geographic Variation in Mesoamerican Paleodiets

A Review of Recent Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopic Analyses
ByVictoria S. R. Izzo, Lori E. Wright, J. Alex Canterbury

part Part VI|93 pages

Population and Mobility

chapter 6.1|17 pages

Population Continuity and Mobility Across Mesoamerica

ByCathy Willermet, Corey S. Ragsdale, Heather J. H. Edgar

chapter 6.2|24 pages

Baseline Strontium Isotope Ratios in Mesoamerica

ByT. Douglas Price, Carolyn Freiwald

chapter 6.3|21 pages

The Paleo-Dna of Ancient Mesoamerican Peoples

ByVíctor Acuña Alonzo, Miguel Angel Contreras Sieck

chapter 6.4|17 pages

Population Structure, Fertility, and Growth

ByAllan Ortega-Muñoz, Patricia Olga Hernández Espinoza

chapter 6.5|12 pages

The Craniometry of Mesoamerican Population Distances

ByJorge A. Gómez-Valdés

part Part VII|70 pages

Breaking New Grounds in Methodology

chapter 7.2|24 pages

Methods in Bioarchaeology

What's New in Profiling an Individual Inside and Out
ByCarolyn Freiwald, Jonathan Belanich, Asta Rand

chapter 7.3|16 pages

Histomorphology of Un-Decalcified Bone in Mesoamerican Bioarchaeology

ByCorey Maggiano, Isabel Maggiano

chapter 7.4|14 pages

The Phenomenon of Mummification in Ancient Mexico

ByJosefina Mansilla Lory, Ilán S. Leboreiro Reyna

part Part VIII|73 pages

The Bioarchaeology of the Thresholds of Modernity

chapter 8.1|18 pages

The Bioarchaeology of Colonial New Spain

ByJulie K. Wesp

chapter 8.2|20 pages

The Serdán Brothers

Reconstructing the Mortuary Trajectory of the Three Heroes of the Mexican Revolution
ByLuisa Mainou Cervantes, Jorge A. Gómez-Valdés

chapter 8.3|18 pages

General Trends in Size in Maya Populations of the Yucatan Peninsula From the Preclassic to the 2010S

A Diachronic Perspective From Human Ecology
ByHugo Azcorra Pérez, Saul Chay Vela, Oana del Castillo Chávez, Federico Dickinson Bannack

chapter 8.4|15 pages

Making Research of Human Reference Collections Available to Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology

ByJulio Roberto Chi Keb, Antinea Menéndez Garmendia, Gabriela Sánchez-Mejorada, Jorge A. Gómez-Valdés