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Munsell vs. Hounsfield? A methodological comparison in assessing cremation temperatures of human bone

Author(s): Edward Bormann ; Matthew Capece ; László Paja ; Julia Giblin

Year: 2016

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Summary

The identification of the temperature at which bone was burned is an important technique for both archaeological and forensic applications that deal with cremated skeletal material. Known color changes in burned bone can be systematically quantified using a Munsell Soil Color Book and associated with known temperature ranges at which the material was burned. Non-invasive techniques, such as computed tomography (CT) scanning may be able to provide analogous information for archaeological material prior to excavation. In this study, we compare Munsell data with “Hounsfield Units”(a measurement of density) from CT scans of cremated human bone from the Bronze Age cemetery Békés 103, located in Eastern Hungary. Preliminary results indicate that the “Hounsfield Unit” values increase with bone that was fired at higher temperatures (as identified using the Munsell technique).


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Munsell vs. Hounsfield? A methodological comparison in assessing cremation temperatures of human bone. Edward Bormann, Matthew Capece, László Paja, Julia Giblin. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404303)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Europe


Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America