Sunday, 4 October 2015

Sunday October 4, 2015 Lakehead U In Conversation

This fall, Lakehead University is once again bringing lectures on a variety of topics to the Thunder Bay Public Library. On Saturday, October 17th, Dr. Carney Matheson, Chair of the Department of Anthropology, will be presenting “Ötzi: Forensic Investigation into the Last Days of the Iceman” in the Waverley Auditorium at 2pm. Ötzi’s body was discovered in the Alps in 1991. Dr. Matheson will be looking at what forensics can tell us about Ötzi’s last days and hours 5,300 years ago. But if you don’t want to wait until the 17th to look into Ötzi and forensic anthropology, why not stop by the library before that?

Konrad Spindler’s The Man in the Ice is one of the first books written about Ötzi. As such, the information is dated, but Spindler gives a good historical account of what we first believed when we found the Iceman. Ötzi is one of the oldest mummies we’ve ever found, which makes his body a very valuable scientific treasure. That’s why there was a lot of fighting for control of his body when it was discovered. Brenda Fowler provides an excellent account of the political drama concerning Ötzi’s discovery in Iceman: Uncovering the Life and Times of a Prehistoric Man Found in an Alpine Glacier. Spindler’s book also gives a rundown of this political drama, but Fowler’s book is much more in depth.

If it’s ancient mummies you’re interested in, be sure to check out Heather Pringle’s The Mummy Congress: Science, Obsession, and the Everlasting Dead. Pringle is a science journalist who was sent to cover a conference on mummy research, which experts from across the globe attend to share their findings. Pringle’s book is perfect for anyone who is new to this field of study and wants to learn more about mummies and the scientists who research them.

Along with books on mummies, the library has books on prehistoric cultures. A really interesting one is Rodney Castleden’s The Stonehenge People: An Exploration of Life in Neolithic Britain 4700-2000 BC, which presents Castleden’s interpretation of Stonehenge. He tries to build the Stonehenge society up from the basics, showing what life would have been like for the people living in that time and place.

If you’re after books on forensics, look no further than Corpse: Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death by Jessica Snyder Sachs. Sachs provides a great historical overview of humanity’s quest to find out exactly when someone has died. But if you want to look at more specific cases, you should check out both Death’s Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab the Body Farm Where the Dead Do Tell Tales and Beyond the Body Farm: a Legendary Bone Detective Explores Murders, Mysteries, and the Revolution in Forensic Science, which were both written by Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson. Dr. Bass is a forensic anthropologist who created the Body Farm, a scientific laboratory dedicated to studying human decomposition. In these two memoirs, Dr. Bass details some of the unusual and exciting cases he has helped solve over his career. Or try Coroner’s Journal: Stalking Death in Louisiana by Louis Cataldie, MD. Cataldie was the deputy coroner and later chief coroner in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In Coroner’s Journal, Cataldie shares the bizarre, heartbreaking, and disturbing cases he has dealt with over the course of his career.

If you’re interested in learning about these ancient cultures and modern murder cases, be sure to stop by your nearest library. Along with these books, we have some dvds and ebooks on all of these subjects and more. And be sure to stop by the Waverley Library to hear Dr. Matheson’s lecture on the Iceman at 2pm on October 17th.

Shauna Kosoris 

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