Viscoelastic properties of wet and dry human compact bone were studied in torsion and in bending for both the longitudinal and transverse directions at frequencies from 5 mHz to 5 kHz in bending to more than 50 kHz in torsion. Two series of tests were done for different longitudinal and transverse specimens from a human tibia. Wet bone exhibited a larger viscoelastic damping tan δ (phase between stress and strain sinusoids) than dry bone over a broad range of frequency. All the results had in common a relative minimum in tan δ over a frequency range, 1 to 100 Hz, which is predominantly contained in normal activities. This behavior is inconsistent with an optimal 'design' for bone as a shock absorber. There was no definitive damping peak in the range of frequencies explored, which could be attributed to fluid flow in the porosity of bone.