Market Research

Market Research & Survey

Conclusion:  The proposed project, Violence at Nephi, addressing the subject areas of historical anthropology, archaeology, and forensic pathology in approximately 144 pages for ages 13 and up is unique and has no competition in the market today. 

Of all the books surveyed only two recent books come close to the target audience, length of book, subject matter, and style of presentation:

Freedom Roads: Searching for the Underground Railroad (2003) by Joyce Hansen, and Buttons, Bones and the Organ-Grinder’s Monkey: Tales of Historical Archaeology (2001) by Meg Greene.

Freedom Roads does not deal specifically with forensic anthropology of human remains and Buttons, Bones, … is no longer available as the publisher has suspended publication.  Both are discussed in greater detail below as well as other possible books in this general subject area and age group.

The following subject categories were searched in Juvenile Literature:

Anthropology and history,

Antiquities (United States),


Archaeology and history,

Excavations (archaeology),

Forensic anthropology, and

Physical anthropology.

Only books published within the last 10 years old were considered.  Quotations are from on-line editorial reviews.

Anthropology and history:

This category returned no books in the juvenile literature category.  All other entries addressed the history of the science of anthropology in general and were clearly unrelated.

Antiquities (United States):

Of the three books found in this search category, only one was a possible competitor:

Freedom Roads: Searching for the Underground Railroad by Joyce Hansen. Reading level: Ages 9-12, Library binding: 166 pages; Publisher: Cricket Books/Marcato (2003). This book would be a close match to the current project except it neglects the forensic pathology aspect of physical anthropology focusing instead on historical archaeology.  “It shows how archaeologists and historians sift through corncobs and root cellars, study songs and quilts, and use the latest technology to reconstruct those heroic journeys. Freedom Roads offers both a fresh look at the escape routes from slavery and an introduction to the tools, methods, and insights of archaeology, anthropology, and historical conservation. Here is a modern-day detective story that uncovers the traces of a time in American history when courageous slaves and idealistic abolitionists defied the law and saved lives.”


All books on ancient treasures, ancient cities, and excavations of ancient civilizations, especially Egyptian mummies were excluded from consideration.  There are many young people’s books in this category but most treat archaeology in general, e.g. The Young Oxford Book of Archaeology by Norah Moloney.  Other examples of non-competing titles in this category include:  Lost in Time by Alexandra Behr, Archaeologists: Life Digging Up Artifacts by Holly Cefrey, Secrets of the Past by World Book, Archaeology for Kids: Uncovering the Mysteries of Our Past, 25 Activities by Richard Panchyk.

Only one book warranted closer inspection:

A Slice Through a City by Peter Kent. Reading level: Ages 9-13 Library binding: 29 pages; Publisher: Millbrook Press (1996). “This book is a general introduction to archaeology that presents cutaway views of a generic European city from the Stone Age to the present century.”  This book is a brief overview of thousands of years presented on 11 two-page spreads.  This is nothing like the proposed project.

Archaeology and history:

This category is closest to the general subject matter of the current project.  One excellent book, the only one found in this category, is a close match in subject matter, style, manner of presentation, and length but Linnet Books ceased publication in 2005 and the book is out-of-print:

Buttons, Bones and the Organ-Grinder’s Monkey: Tales of Historical Archaeology by Meg Greene.  Reading level: Ages 9-12; Hardcover: 122 pages; Publisher: Linnet Books (October 2001). “In this intriguing introduction to historical archaeology, Greene spotlights five sites of recent investigation: the Jamestown Fort, the sunken seventeenth-century ship La Belle, the slave quarters at Jefferson's Monticello, the Montana battlefield of Little Bighorn, and the Five Points neighborhood in New York City, a notorious slum in the mid-1800s. The diversity of sites and their particular challenges and stories provide interesting reading and, collectively, a good picture of the uses and processes of the archaeological approach to history.” Out-of-print.

Excavations (archaeology):

Once again this subject area is dominated by books on ancient civilizations, ancient tombs, and ancient treasure hunting. Examples of non-competing titles in this category include:  Exploring Ancient Cities of the Bible by Michael and Caroline Carroll, Treasures Under the Sand [Ur] by Alan Honour, The First Humans by Alan Mann, and Cities of the Dead by Denise Rinaldo.

This subject area also includes the famous “Otzi the Iceman” Books, such as

Discovering the Iceman by Shelley Tanaka;

Reading level: Ages 9-12; Hardcover: 48 pages; Publisher: Scholastic (June 1997). “Photographs and text document the finding of a 5300-year-old mummy in the Italian Alps in 1991. The largest section of the book is a fictional re-creation of the man's last days, illustrated with attractive paintings and sidebars that give information on what is known about life in that period and how the Iceman's remains add to this knowledge.” Out-of-print, and

Frozen Man by David Getz;

Reading level: Ages 9-12; Paperback: 64 pages; Publisher: Redfeather Books from Henry Holt; Reprint edition (April 15, 1996). “Getz's account of the 1991 discovery of the Ice Man, a mummified shepherd from the Copper Age found in the Italian Alps, not only describes the scientific process of determining the age of the body, but also how scientists used the remains to gain valuable clues about how humans lived at the time.”

These books deal with an excavation from the Copper Age, thousands of years ago, not a historical excavation that is historically documented.  Thus they are not significantly different than the archaeology of ancient civilizations and tombs mentioned above.  They also address a younger readership in a much shorter book format than the proposed project.

Only a couple of additional books on archaeological excavations remotely resembled the current project:

Native American Shipwrecks by James Delgado. Reading level: Ages 9-12; 63 pages; Publisher: Franklin Watts (2000).  “This book examines archaeological excavations of the watercraft of ancient Native Americans and what the findings tell us about the daily life and culture of people who lived thousands of years ago.”  This short book is totally lacking the forensic pathology of human remains which is central to the proposed project.

The Nez Perce by Connie R. Miller. Reading level: Ages 4-8; Publisher: Lake Street (Minneapolis) (2003).  This book for beginning readers demonstrates how archaeological digs have contributed to knowledge of the Nez Perce people and their culture.  Contents include “Digging up a rawhide pouch,” and “Digging up a pit house.”  This book was from a minor publishing firm and apparently is no longer available.  Out-of-print.

Forensic Anthropology*:

All the books found have a definite crime-solving focus.  Good examples are the following:

The Bone Detectives: How Forensic Anthropologists Solve Crimes and Uncover Mysteries of the Dead by Donna Jackson, and Forensic Anthropology (Forensics: the Science of Crime-Solving) by Angela Libal. 

*Modern Forensic Science titles focusing on contemporary police forensics as in TV shows such as CSI, e.g. Police Lab: How Forensic Science Tracks Down and Convicts Criminals by David Owen were excluded from consideration.

Two books deserved additional consideration:

Greenland Mummies by Janet Buell. Reading level: Ages 10-14; Paperback: 63 pages (Library Binding); Publisher: Twenty-first Century Books (1998). “While poking around a fjord in Greenland, Hans and Jokum Gronvold discovered a grave site that contained mummified human corpses. It wasn't until five years later that scientists realized the importance of this find. These 500-year-old remains provided them with real evidence of Inuit life long ago. Buell examines the physical and forensic evidence to determine how the Inuits lived, what they ate and wore, and what may have caused their deaths.”  Out-of-print.

Written in Bone by Sally Walker. Reading level: ?; pages ?; To be published by Carolrhoda Books (grades K-12) in 2008; no further details available.

Physical Anthropology

Most of the books in this category deal almost exclusively with the pathological analysis of the preserved remains of human and examine the techniques used by scientists. Most books survey work on bodies from 5000 years ago to the present day looking at the processes of decay and of embalming and other preservation such as in bogs, or as a result of freezing and, of course, mummification.  These books are more technical and sharply focused on their science and usually for older readers than other books examined. A good example of this genre is:

Earthly Remains: The History and Science of Preserved Human Bodies (Hardcover)

by Andrew T. Chamberlain.  Reading level: Adult/high school; Paperback: 208 pages; Publisher: British Museum Press; New Ed edition (July 2004); Hardcover edition by Oxford University Press, 2002.

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