Reviewed by CBC Reviewer
Staring into the Faces of the Past, students might find eerie personal connections to both their stories and the science that helps us tell them. This NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book follows the work of forensic anthropologists in reconstructing the faces of native Americans, settlers, soldiers, and slaves over a thousand years of American history.
Readers will gain an insight into one of Virginia's first Indian tribes, the Monacans. Between 800 and 1000 AD they migrated from the area of today's Ohio. They relive life in a Nineteenth Century almshouse through the reconstructed faces of its residents, and solve the mystery of the fatal gunshot wound that killed a Mexican soldier at San Jacinto. There's also the story of a "Buffalo (Afro–American) Soldier" from New Mexico, relating a history that may be new to many readers.
The science of facial reconstruction combines with research on history, geography, and climate in this series of fascinating investigations, making it an ideal starting point for interdisciplinary units or school projects. The vivid photos in this secondary level book could be disconcerting to some, but the tales they tell are captivating. The book not only describes state–of–the–art science but introduces readers to interesting ethical questions. Should unearthed remains be studied or reburied? What place did the poor have in past communities? How should society deal with "gravediggers" who collect remains privately? Read cover–to–cover or in interesting sections, this book seamlessly interweaves history with the practices of science.
Review posted on 1/18/2013