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Skeletal Modification. Vocab to know. Skeletal Modification – Any changes made to the skeleton Pre- or antemortem – Modifications made before death Examples: breaking a bone as a kid Perimortem – Modifications made just before, during, or just after death; “around the time of death”

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vocab to know
Vocab to know
  • Skeletal Modification –
    • Any changes made to the skeleton
  • Pre- or antemortem –
    • Modifications made before death
      • Examples: breaking a bone as a kid
  • Perimortem –
    • Modifications made just before, during, or just after death; “around the time of death”
      • Example: stabbing someone & nicking the ribs or vertebrae
  • Postmortem –
    • Modifications made after death
      • Examples: bones that get broken when they are buried or run through a grinder or shredder, etc.. Think back to some of the episodes we watched…
taphonomy
Taphonomy
  • The study of the processes that operate between the time of death and the time of study (Human Bone Manual)
  • A subdiscipline of paleontology; but also in the realm of archaeology
    • Looks at the contexts of skeletal remains’ resting place
      • How were they buried? Where were they buried? What were they buried with? Body position? Etc…..
skeletal modification1
Skeletal Modification
  • Modification by Physical Agents
    • Chemistry – the soil the remains are in; weathering; natural decomposition of the body
    • Rocks, Earth, Ice – Bones can be broken or scratched by rockfalls; freeze-thaw cycles
    • Abrasion – particles of grit that “sand” the bones
    • Fire – cremation vs. naturally- occurring fires vs. roasting
  • Modification by Nonhuman, Biological Agents
    • Non-Human Animals
      • Gnawing/chewing on bones; sings of carnivores include: pitting, scoring and puncturing of bone; trampling
    • Plants –
      • Roots can grow through & around bones, leaving evidence on the bone; looks similar to etching
  • Modification by Humans
    • Cannibalism; cremation; cutting, chopping, scraping; percussion (hammering); projectiles (arrowheads, bullets, spearheads, etc…)
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