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by Archaeology Newsroom

Animal and Human Bones in Archaeological Ensembles. Identification Problems

The holistic, bicultural approach tends to become today the established method in the study of human residues. Therefore, Bioarchaeology, by combining elements from various sources, collects skeletal as well as cultural data and thus advances to the study of ancient man. There is a mutual influence between man and his environment, since he has always been in contact with the vegetable and animal world. Given that the bones recovered in excavations are usually in a bad state of preservation and that the animal and human bones are mixed, an increased difficulty is created in their identification procedure. It is important the modern archaeologist to realize how significant the skeletal residues are for archaeology. Therefore, he/she should be able to distinguish the human from the animal bones, in order to ask for the participation of the appropriate specialists for their further meticulous examination and study. The basic morphology and mechanisms of the animal bones, the understanding of the function of the human skeleton and the available sketches of comparative anatomy can contribute to the achievement of this objective.