Volume 29, Issue 2 (April 1984)
Effects of Burning on Human Bone Microstructure: A Preliminary Study
The microscopic determination of age at death in human bone is a widely used technique in forensic anthropology. Despite its use, little attention has been given to the reliability of microscopic aging when the subject has been burned, either at the time of death, or after death. This preliminary report examines some of the variables of the burning process that may affect the age estimates. Preliminary conclusions arc: (1) bone burned at 600°C retains all of the structures necessary for microscopic aging and (2) bone shrinkage, widely reported in the literature, does not appear to have significant effect on the age estimate. A research plan is outlined that will address some of the questions left unanswerable in the present report.