Dating human skeletal remains
Having been asked to avoid destructive dating methods such as radiocarbon dating, the authors used Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) to date the sediments embedded in the cranium. Not only do our methods contribute to the immediate repatriation efforts, they provide archaeologists with a versatile, non-destructive, numerical dating method that can be used in many burial contexts.If the bodies are fully in tact then sexing is straightforward from the genitalia, if these are not present, then secondary characteristics such as breasts and beards provide fairly reliable indicators.However, when the remains have no soft tissue on them (bones), the most common and accurate ways in which archaeologists employ to work out the gender from an individual’s remains is to observe the pelvis, skull and overall rusticity of the entire skeleton.These are human skeletal remains, human waste and human soft tissue.‘Through an analysis of isotopes and trace elements in bone, human skeletal remains provide a good indication of the kinds of foods eaten.
We can learn all sorts of things about the individual their physical attributes, diet, activities, health, age and cause of death.
The ratio of carbon to nitrogen isotopes is different among various kinds of plants and animals, and when food are eaten as a regular part of people’s diet, those ratios are imprinted.’ However diet can also be found by analysis of human teeth.
Wear patterns of teeth can be used to make broad inferences.
Instead individuals are usually classified into general age categories.
The categories most commonly used are fatal (before birth), infant (0-3 years), child (3-12 years), adolescent (12-17 years), young adult (18-30 years), middle adult (30 – 50 years) and old adult (over 50).
Archaeologists and anthropologists used to have to rely on either the quality of preservation of remains or the art surrounding the remains to give them an idea of their physical appearance.