Wounded to the bone: Digital microscopic analysis of traumas in a medieval mass grave assemblage (Sandbjerget, Denmark, AD 1300–1350).

Boucherie, A., Smith, M. and Jorkov, M.L., 2017. Wounded to the bone: Digital microscopic analysis of traumas in a medieval mass grave assemblage (Sandbjerget, Denmark, AD 1300–1350). International Journal of Paleopathology, 19, 66 - 79.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpp.2017.10.005

Abstract

Battle-related mass burials are considered the most unequivocal evidence of past violence. However, most published studies involve only macroscopic analysis of skeletal remains, commonly arriving only at broad conclusions regarding trauma interpretation. The current study considers a possible avenue for achieving both greater detail and accuracy through digital microscopy. Patterns of injury were investigated among 45 individuals from a Medieval Danish mass grave (Sandbjerget, AD 1300–1350). Injuries were recorded on every anatomical element, except hand and foot bones. Each was photographed and cast, facilitating remote evaluations. Macroscopic analysis was compared with digital microscopy in order to test the relative utility of the latter in characterizing skeletal injuries (mechanism, weapon class, direction, timing of injury). The location of 201 observed injuries, mainly sharp force defects, suggested that many lesions were probably not inflicted by face-to-face opponents. Some microscopic features were indicative of a specific lesion type and weapon class. Digital microscopy was therefore demonstrated to be a complementary tool to macroscopic assessment, enhancing feature observation and quantification and serving to compensate for many of the limitations of macroscopic assessment.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:1879-9817
Uncontrolled Keywords:Medieval archaeology ; Mass grave ; paleopathology; Traumatology ; lesion morphology; Digital Microscopy
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:30028
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:27 Nov 2017 15:34
Last Modified:27 Nov 2017 15:34

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