Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Taphonomy and diagenesis of human bone in underwater archaeology: A review of the current status and the proposal of Post-Mortem Submersion Interval (PMSI) as a potential forensic application

Guareschi, E.E.ORCID: 0000-0001-9883-9872, Tobe, S.S.ORCID: 0000-0002-4854-6278, Nicholls, P.K.ORCID: 0000-0001-7071-3055 and Magni, P.A. (2021) Taphonomy and diagenesis of human bone in underwater archaeology: A review of the current status and the proposal of Post-Mortem Submersion Interval (PMSI) as a potential forensic application. Journal of Maritime Archaeology .

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11457-020-09286-6
*Subscription may be required

Abstract

Diagenesis is the collective word for the physical, biological, and chemical processes that bones undergo in the post-mortem period, until their physical destruction or fossilization. In forensic anthropology, the analysis of macroscopic and microscopic bone alterations, alongside the taphonomy of the soft tissues of a body, has proven valuable for the estimation of the time-of-death, or Post-Mortem Interval (PMI), of skeletonized individuals. To date, bone alterations have been mostly researched in terrestrial settings, such as exposed or buried skeletal remains, but here the scientific literature regarding human bones submerged underwater has been reviewed. It features 20 publications in the last 42 years, of which 9 are reviews, 8 are studies on ancient material and 3 are experimental studies. Future research on analysis of microscopic diagenetic parameters of submerged bones, together with the refinement of the correlation with time of the slightly better known macroscopic underwater alterations, will prove valuable for the estimation of a Post-Mortem Submersion Interval (PMSI) in both forensic and archaeological contexts, because bones have always been and still are regularly recovered underwater. The concurrent estimation of both PMI and PMSI of bones recovered underwater will add vital information to criminal investigations. Diagenetic parameters have been identified in Histological Index, protein content, porosity and crystallinity of bioapatite. They are depicted with the analytic techniques currently available to assess their presence and magnitude, and to relate them to the diagenetic processes of bioerosion, abrasion, and encrustation, but also to the extremes of dissolution or fossilization.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
Publisher: Springer Nature
Copyright: © 2021 Springer Nature Switzerland AG.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/59236
Item Control Page Item Control Page