How Experimental Research in Forensic Archaeology Informs Archaeological Practice: Differentiating Perimortem Fracture From Postmortem Breakage
Often perceived as a highly specialized and peripheral subfield of archaeology, forensic archaeology contributes to our understanding of not only forensic anthropology and forensic science, but also traditional archaeological practice. Forensic archaeologists’ extensive knowledge of postmortem taphonomic effects on material objects has led to more precise interpretations of postmortem interval, environmental (including scavenger-induced) scattering and alteration of human remains, and site formation processes. Experimental taphonomic research has formed the core of these advances in site interpretation, particularly through its focus on differentiating perimortem (at or around the time of death) from postmortem events. This concept is illustrated through RU Forensic Science Institute (RUFSI) research aimed at differentiating perimortem bone fracture from postmortem breakage. A sample of 300 Sus scrofa ribs underwent controlled Blunt Force Trauma in the RUFSI at known periodic perimortem and postmortem intervals, ranging from 0 to 112 days of environmental exposure. Resulting rib fractures were analyzed macroscopically and microscopically to define signature fracture morphology across time periods. These results allow differentiation of perimortem fracture versus postmortem breakage and inform period of exposure and contextual history of field remains. Forensic archaeology research can therefore play an integral role in interpretations of traditional archaeological method and theory.
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How Experimental Research in Forensic Archaeology Informs Archaeological Practice: Differentiating Perimortem Fracture From Postmortem Breakage. Charles Boyd, Donna Boyd, Marta Paulson. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442588)
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min long: -168.574; min lat: 7.014 ; max long: -54.844; max lat: 74.683 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21610