Histological investigation of very small cremated bone fragments – Options and limitations

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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/128496
Dokumentart: BookPart
Date: 2023-06
Language: English
Other Keywords: cremation
age estimation
animal bones
dental cementum
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode
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The anthropological analysis of cremated bone material originating from the archaeological context often poses a great challenge to the examiner due to the high degree of fragmentation, thermally induced shrinkage, and deformation. Histological methods have proven useful for determining the age at death in these osseous remains. Cross sections of long bones are used during the qualitative histological examination. This allows for an assessment of characteristics pertinent to this analysis including individual structural elements such as osteons, Haversian canals, the lamellar structure or resorption lacunae. Histological features characteristic for each age group are described. In addition, the implementation of tooth root cementum examinations for aging, in which annual rings are counted, is presented. Animal bones are commonly found in cremations, e.g. through admixtures. In the case of very small diaphyseal fragments, morphological identification can often be very difficult. But a distinction between animal and human bones is usually possible based on the internal structure of the compact bones.

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