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Faces from the Past
ISBN: 9780547370248
Author: Deem, James M.
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Published: November 2012
Retail: $18.99    OUR PRICE: $2.99
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Binding Type: Hardcover
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Annotation: Traces the efforts of a scientific team to learn about the life and culture of a person whose skeletal remains are traced to prehistoric times, profiling the technical achievements of artists who reconstruct faces from remains.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Forensic anthropology; North America.
Human remains (Archaeology); North America.
Radiocarbon dating; North America.
Dewey: 599.9
LCCN: 2012006819
Lexile Measure: 1190
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 10-12, Age 15-18
Book type: Juvenile Non-Fiction
Target Grade: 10-12
Grade level: 10-12
Physical Information: 9.25" H x 8.75" L x 0.75" W
Bargain Category: Geography, Biology, Art/Music, High School, Non-Fiction, Science, Social Studies
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring)
Deem recounts the lives of people whose remains have been located across North America--from "Spirit Cave Man" to the unnamed inhabitants of an early twentieth-century almshouse. The profiles detail the work of archaeologists to preserve skeletal remains, as well as the science behind the reconstructions. Copious illustrations include portraits of the sculptors at work, the facial reconstructions, and historical and modern-day sites. Reading list, websites. Bib., ind.
Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #6)
The talented practitioners of historical facial reconstruction draw on their knowledge of history, art, and science to show us what the faces of long-dead humans may have looked like. Working from skulls, sometimes only partially intact, the sculptors carefully build layers of bone, muscle, fat, skin, and hair. Deem explores nine periods in American history and prehistory, recounting the lives and times of people -- from "Spirit Cave Man," a resident of the American Southwest thousands of years ago, to the unnamed inhabitants of a New York almshouse from the early twentieth century -- whose remains have been located across North America. The profiles detail the careful work of modern-day archaeologists to uncover and preserve these skeletal remains, as well as the science behind the reconstructions, including the fascinating use of typical measurements of the position and thicknesses of various facial elements to make estimates for the sculptures. Copious illustrations include portraits of the sculptors at work, the facial reconstructions themselves, and the historical and modern-day sites in which these people lived. (See also books by Berger and Aronson and by Walker and Owsley in this section.) danielle j. ford Copyright 2012 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2012 December)

Gr 5 Up—Beginning with the startling photograph of a partially reconstructed face on the cover, this book effectively brings to life the people of North America forgotten by the history books. Beginning with the oldest existing mummified human remains-a man discovered in Spirit Cave, Nevada, dated to approximately 10,500 years ago-Deem moves forward chronologically to burials belonging to the Monacan tribe of Virginia (1000–1400), a French sailor traveling with La Salle (1686), the forgotten burial of a woman in colonial New York (1742), a rediscovered slave burial ground (1750–1790), and a Mexican soldier killed shortly after the Alamo (1836). He discusses the poor buried in an Almshouse Cemetery (1826–1926), a Buffalo Soldier (1865), and, finally, Chinese Miners in Wyoming (1881). Each chapter highlights the hardships endured by these early Americans as documented by the bones they left behind and interpreted by anthropologists. A thorough explanation of the archaeological techniques used to exhume these forgotten remains is combined with the known history of each period to create a clear picture of the difficult lives the people uncovered in these forgotten burials faced. Further humanizing these forgotten people are the careful facial reconstructions painstakingly rendered by sculptors whose careful, scientific process is outlined in fascinating detail. Deem tactfully addresses the issue of excavating and displaying human remains and gives an emotional resonance to the lives of these early Americans through the inclusion of poems exploring some of the painful aspects of American history. Clear prose, pleasing layout, and crisp photographs combined with subject matter rarely explored in history books make this book an excellent choice for most collections.—Caroline Tesauro, Radford Public Library, VA

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