On the volume of cremated remains – a comparative study of archaeologically recovered cremated bone volume as measured manually and assessed by Computed Tomography and by Stereology

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L. Harvig, Niels Lynnerup

Weight but occasionally also the volume of cremated human remains may often be the primary basis for interpreting the many stages involved in past cremation ceremonies. However, methods used for describing volume for cremated remains are extremely varying and biased by many factors. Here we evaluate different methods for calculating and describing volume and propose a method for estimating the original prehistoric post-cremation weight. Our data suggests that low cremation weights reported for archaeologically recovered cremated remains are markedly underestimated, and that whole cremated bodies probably are represented more often than discussed in osteoarchaeology. Hence, this contests many suppositions on ritual selection of cremated human remains in prehistoric and early historical archaeology. A simple descriptive Fragmentation Index for cremated remains is further suggested.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Archaeological Science
Vol/bind40
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)2713-2722
Antal sider10
ISSN0305-4403
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 1 jun. 2013

ID: 47684909