Destructive Sampling

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Just out are the guidelines for destructive sampling snappily entitled ‘Science and the dead’.


“Scientific analyses involving destruction of parts of bones and

teeth from human remains are becoming increasingly widely

used in archaeology. The more important techniques include

radiocarbon dating; carbon and nitrogen stable isotope studies

for shedding light on ancient diets; strontium and oxygen isotopic

analyses to investigate geographical origins of people; DNA analysis

for looking at genetic questions and for studying infectious

diseases; and the cutting of histological sections to study changes

due to age, disease and other factors. Institutions responsible for

curating archaeological human remains, principally museums,

archaeological field units and university departments, are

increasingly receiving requests from researchers to sample remains

in their care. Clergy and others responsible for historic churchyards

and other burial grounds are also receiving an increasing number

of requests from those wishing to exhume remains for research

purposes. The aim of this document is to provide a framework

which will help those organisations in responding to such

applications. The remit of the document is English remains over

100 years old.”


Lots of Osteologists and representatives for organisations were consulted for the production of the guidelines. So, hopefully there will now be some consistency in sample taking.

By | 2017-01-12T20:41:04+00:00 February 1st, 2013|Blog|Comments Off on Destructive Sampling

About the Author:

I'm an Osteoarchaeologist and mum to 3 young girls. Archaeology is my passion and my life. I have a wonderful partner, Steve Leech, who works as a project officer in commercial field archaeology. When we get a spare minute, you'll find us all down the allotment growing veggies.