So your iphone died and it killed your contacts list? It is not easy to recover it but not impossible either:
Find your last backup file: c:\users\xxx\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup and look for your contacts file called 31bb7ba8914766d4ba40d6dfb6113c8b614be442.mdbackup which is a plist file containing sqlitite v3 encoded content stored in xml.
For the lazy people, there is a useful tool to extract the content as plaintext: http://insend.de/ or http://www.reincubate.com/labs/iphone-backup-extractor-how-extract-files-iphone-backup-windows/#/res/i/labs/iphonebe/3_wizard.png
If you export from sqlite to Excel and use and dated fields, this query is vaery handy:
select strftime(‘%d/%m/%Y %H:%M’,1257961471, ‘unixepoch’);
Alternatively, get Excel to do the work (Converts to GMT):
=(((A1/60)/60)/24)+DATE(1970,1,1) [taken from this site]