1Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, School of Archaeology, University of Oxford, 2Cranfield Forensic Institute, Cranfield University, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom
April 18, 2020 2:45PM, Diamond 8-9
Recent histotaphonomic studies have focused on the presence of features thought to be caused either by bacteria (microscopic focal destruction/MFDs and cyanobacterial tunnelling) or fungal (Wedl tunnelling types 1 and 2) attack on unburnt, mostly archaeological bones. Identifying these diagnostic characteristics on burnt bones could reflect some degree of decomposition before cremation, with important repercussions for both forensic and archaeological contexts. Thus, this study aims to establish the utility of diagenetic features as a proxy for the body’s condition prior to incineration.
Histotaphonomic features survived cremation. However, their presence in freshly burnt bones and absence in the unburnt controls suggest that the presence of many, if not all of these features is, in fact, not due to bacterial bioerosion or fungal attack.
Meyerstein fund and Wolfson College (University of Oxford)