November 21 st
Is it Bone?
• Generally crème coloured white appearance
• Hundred or thousands of years ago they look like rock
• Bones are porous
• Porous because it allows for blood vessels to get through the bone
Is it Human?
• Parts of the human body are almost identical to the untrained eye
• To determine it is human they can look at the apiphisus (long ends of bones)
• Phibia they can look at
• Space when your born between the end of your bones it is filled with cartilage ,
the ends of long bones tend to go together as you get older
• The bones fuse at different times
Is it modern or archaeological?
• Context what is the body associated with?
• Given if the site is undisturbed , it is safe to say the body dates the same time as
the artifacts they can date (In the same area)
• Can use a system called radio carbon dating or carbon 14 dating
• Carbon 14 dating works on all organic material , can date a fragment of bone date
charcoal in a heart date shell animal bones
• The problem with carbon 14 dating it gives you a date range : this particular
sample goes to 1530 plus or minus 100 years
• If the body is barried in a grave and it is not mummified or sealed in a tome, then
over time you will get ware marks on the bones from exposure to weather and
• We can take a look at them to see how they have been damaged
What bones and teeth are present?
• They calculate an MNI , refers to minimum number of individuals and or
minimum number of features
• Going to do an inventory form if you find a skeleton
How many individuals are present?
• Ossuary – a method of burial where multiple people are buried together
• After years family members would go and clean up the flesh off the dead body
and keep the dead bones in there house
• Anyone who died In that ten year frame would be brought to the ceremony
• Dug a giant pit called an ossuary – have a funeral service then mix all the bones