Radiocarbon analysis of modern skeletal remains to determine year of birth and death: a case study

Cook, G.T. , Ainscough, L.A.N. and Dunbar, E. (2015) Radiocarbon analysis of modern skeletal remains to determine year of birth and death: a case study. Radiocarbon, 57(3), pp. 327-336. (doi: 10.2458/azu_rc.57.18394)

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To aid in the development of a biological profile for human remains found in Collyhurst, Manchester, England we undertook 14C analysis of tooth enamel, tooth collagen and bone collagen on behalf of Greater Manchester Police. On the basis of the analyses of the teeth, we concluded that the person was born between 1950 and 1954 while on the basis of our analyses of cortical and trabecular bone we estimated the year of death to be between 1969 and 1974. This would make the maximum age range around 15 to 24 years. Analyses of the dentition and other skeletal parameters can eliminate the younger part of the range so an age of around 18 to 24 years at death would seem most likely. The δ13C and δ15N values for the bone collagen were higher than would be expected for someone subsisting on a purely terrestrial diet, implying some consumption of marine resources which could lead to reduced 14C activities. Taking any potential marine effect into account could reduce this age range to around 18 to 21 years.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cook, Professor Gordon and Dunbar, Dr Elaine
Authors: Cook, G.T., Ainscough, L.A.N., and Dunbar, E.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Radiocarbon
Publisher:University of Arizona
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona
First Published:First published in Radiocarbon 57(3):327-336
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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