Forensic Anthropology Case Study

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Forensic Anthropology is a relatively new field, often thought of as a study of modern cases. In some instances, however, the techniques used by forensic anthropologists can be applied to much older cases, such as the case of a young child from the Late Neolithic era in Sweden. In the case by Anne Carlie, Caroline Arcini, Henrik Druid, and Jan Risberg, remains found in a well were analyzed to determine cause and manner of death. The site is located in Malmo, Sweden; with the excavation taking place in 2010. The primary focus of the study was on wells in the previous wetland area. While excavating, researchers came across a partial skeleton of a child in one of the wells. Many bones were missing due to excavation techniques, which were much…show more content…
About halfway down the well, archaeologists encounter the remains in water lain sediment, indicating the well was not used as a water supply when the child was place there. Along with the remains, two larger stones and several digging sticks were found. The digging sticks were dated to the same time frame as the remains. Due to excavation techniques, many bones were missing, moved, or broken; those that remained were well preserved. Some shifting in the water occurred as well, but much of the skeleton remained in situ, including all the pelvic bones, a nearly complete foot, and most of the limbs. The findings indicate that the full child was placed in the well, and any bones missing were do to water shifting or inadequate excavation techniques. Based on the lengths of the arm bones and ilium, the child was determined to have been between five and six years old at the time of death. There were no gnawing marks on the bones or any trauma marks noted, indicating the child probably did not meet a violent end and the body was not exposed in the well, but covered in water. The position of the pelvis in situ indicated the child was sitting with their legs crossed in front and upper body bent over. This body position was vital in determining manner of…show more content…
To confirm the suspicion that the child drowned, the diatoms presence in the well and the child’s bone marrow were analyzed. Diatoms are microbes that live in water and are present in humans in the case of a drowning but very rarely in other scenarios. As water fills the lungs, the alveolar walls burst and allow diatoms into the bloodstream. As they travel through the capillary network, the diatoms find their way into the bone marrow where they remained for forensic anthropologists to find thousands of years

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