Counting human bone fragments using landmarks: Camposanto case study

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Disarticulated human bone fragments can be encountered in various scenarios where fragmented skeletal material has been disturbed by anthropogenic (i.e. grave robbing, disaster recovery), animal scavenging (i.e. with surface deposits), or natural forces (i.e. flooding, erosion). The physical anthropologist should aim to classify as diagnostic as many human bone fragments as possible. The Camposanto cemetery (Venice, Italy) was used to assess a landmark method to determine its applicability to human fragmented assemblages (archaeological, humanitarian, or forensic). A total of 7,330 fragments, of which 59% were smaller than 5 cm and 1.7% were larger than 10 cm, returned a MNI of 24 individuals (16 adults, five children, and three infants). The study concluded that a modified version of the landmark schema, particularly the cranium and pelvis, is required to classify a greater number of fragments as diagnostic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-190
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Journal of Forensic Sciences
Issue numberSuppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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