Document Detail

The value of radiocarbon analysis in determining the forensic interest of human skeletal remains found in unusual circumstances.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22281219     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
The case under analysis refers to the remains of a young adult female found in a shallow grave during the construction work of a hospital in Northern Portugal. The forensic interest of the finding could not be ruled out since distinguishing features pointing to an archaeological grave were lacking. For example, absence of archaeological artefacts could not establish its forensic significance with certainty, together with the absence of modern objects, such as remnants of clothing or personal objects. In addition, although the remains were badly preserved, the condition may not have resulted from a long post-depositional period, but instead could be explained by the geology of the site and the presence of plant roots. The radiocarbon analysis of the remains was meant to establish the death of the individual to before or after the mid-1950s, from comparison with bomb-curve content values. A value of 0.9789 ± 0.0044 for F(14)C (pmC = 97.19 ± 0.44% Modern or Δ(14)C = -28.1 ± 4.4‰) was obtained, which placed the death of the individual in the pre-mod-1950s period. This report illustrates the use of radiocarbon analysis in establishing whether the human remains are contemporary or not and describes evidence for what appears to be an historic clandestine grave.
Hugo F V Cardoso; Katerina Puentes; António Monge Soares; Agostinho Santos; Teresa Magalhães
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2011-10-05
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of forensic and legal medicine     Volume:  19     ISSN:  1878-7487     ISO Abbreviation:  J Forensic Leg Med     Publication Date:  2012 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-01-27     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101300022     Medline TA:  J Forensic Leg Med     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  97-100     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd and Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine. All rights reserved.
Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Medicina, Instituto de Medicina Legal, Jardim Carrilho Videira, 4050-167 Porto, Portugal; Universidade de Lisboa, Museu Nacional de História Natural & Centro de Biologia Ambiental, Rua da Escola Politécnica 56/58, 1250-102 Lisboa, Portugal.
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