Volume 47, Issue 5 (September 2002)
Identifying Chop Marks on Cremated Bone: A Preliminary Study
The purpose of this analysis is to evaluate the effects of burning on hacking trauma inflicted with a cleaver and to assess the diag-nostic potential of cleaver marks exposed to fire. Thirty pig forelimbs (radius and ulna) and 30 beef ribs were each subjected to five blows with a cleaver and five cuts with a knife prior to burning in an outdoor fire. Bones were deliberately agitated to ensure maximum cremation and induce fragmentation. Results indicate that hacking weakens bone, making fire-induced fragmentation more likely at the sites of trauma. Chop marks were easily identified on burned bone, their characteristics largely unaffected by cremation.