A re-examination of cremated remains from the archaeological record: an evaluation of the process and application of current methods

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University of Alabama Libraries

Cremation is a burial practice that has been adopted by numerous cultures throughout time. In the past, the fragmented nature of cremated remains gives them the reputation of being difficult and time consuming to analyze. Thus, in archaeological literature such as site reports, data collected about cremated remains is largely lacking. The effect of heat on bone was not originally well understood and it has taken years for research to be conducted on heat altered bone. However, through research in both archaeology and forensic science a good deal is now understood about cremations. This study includes an extensive literature review of studies from both archaeology and forensic science. From these studies, a method was developed to analyze the cremated human remains housed in the University of Alabama's Laboratory of Human Osteology. This research resulted in an increased understanding of the age, sex, health, and cause of death of cremated individuals within this collection. It is hoped that this study's methodology will be replicated to analyze other collections of prehistoric cremated remains or used as a basis for future research to improve the methodologies used in this study

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Physical anthropology, Anthropology, Archaeology, Information science