Comparing Methodologies for Documenting Commingled and Fragmentary Human Remains
Commingled and fragmentary human remains are a common occurrence in archaeological and forensic contexts, but only a few methods have been developed to record these complex assemblages. Conventional inventory methods, such as the Standards for Data Collection from Human Skeletal Remains, referred to from here on out as Standards, document the presence and completeness of specific portions of skeletal elements and the minimum number of individuals (MNI) represented by each bone portion. This rather subjective method for MNI calculation does not provide much transparency for future researchers using these data. However, new techniques for recording and analyzing commingled assemblages and for MNI calculation have been developed using zooarchaeological zonation methods, which document specific features present rather than more general measures of completeness. This study identifies any significant differences in MNI calculation results using Standards versus Osterholtz's methods, through reanalysis of the assemblage of fragmented, commingled remains recovered during the 2012 season of the Petra North Ridge Project (preliminary MNI = 30). The MNI based on Osterholtz's visual-based system was notably different from that using Standards. Overall, the better metadata in Osterholtz's system suggests that Osterholtz's feature-based system should be the choice for individuals working with commingled and fragmentary remains.
Sussman, Emily. (July 2017). Comparing Methodologies for Documenting Commingled and Fragmentary Human Remains (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/6361.)
Sussman, Emily. Comparing Methodologies for Documenting Commingled and Fragmentary Human Remains. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, July 2017. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/6361. June 24, 2018.
Sussman, Emily, “Comparing Methodologies for Documenting Commingled and Fragmentary Human Remains” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, July 2017).
Sussman, Emily. Comparing Methodologies for Documenting Commingled and Fragmentary Human Remains [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; July 2017.
East Carolina University