Volume 40, Issue 3 (May 1995)
Differentiation of Perimortem and Postmortem Trauma Using Taphonomic Indicators
Skeletal remains discovered at a construction site in Georgia display classic “butterfly” fractures on several long bones. Although this fracture pattern is usually associated with perimortem trauma, in this case taphonomic indicators demonstrate that they can also occur on dry defleshed bone. Variations in bone color at the fracture sites indicate recent postmortem trauma. Analysis of the directions of force and points of impact indicates that the bones were most likely disarticulated when the trauma occurred.