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Identifying pre-incineration state from heat-induced fracture and warping patterns found on human cremains in a Hungarian Bronze Age cemetery

Author(s): Audrey Choi ; Jaime Ullinger ; László Paja

Year: 2017

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Summary

Attempts to determine the status of human remains prior to their final deposition are complicated in the analysis of cremains. Forensic and archaeological studies, however, have advocated for the interpretation of heat-induced fracture and warping patterns as indicators of the pre-incineration state of the body and of the characteristics of the funeral fire. The purpose of this research is to examine the possible internal social structures of a Bronze Age population in the Körös region of Eastern Hungary by testing whether or not trends in the distribution of macroscopic heat-induced features exist across the cemetery site of Békés 103. Fragments from fourteen cremation urns were assessed for the presence of diagnostic fracture and warping patterns according to their anatomical region. Their relative frequencies were then compared among human burials, among urn layers, and among individual bone fragments that exhibited colors possibly indicative of temperature exposure. Results reveal that statistically significant differences in the frequencies of a few features, such as postcranial warping and "thumbnail" fractures, exist and may suggest the presence of discrepancies in bone biomechanics and/or funerary preparations within the examined sample of Békés 103.


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Identifying pre-incineration state from heat-induced fracture and warping patterns found on human cremains in a Hungarian Bronze Age cemetery. Audrey Choi, Jaime Ullinger, László Paja. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431996)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Europe


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16853

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