Cutmarks are scratches produced when a flint or metal knife strikes the surface of a bone or tooth. Museum researchers are investigating whether cutmarks can be used to determine the stage of carcass decay in ancient remains.
Cutmarks on human remains can relate to funerary practices such as cannibalism or defleshing and body disarticulation.
The time interval between the death of an organism and the production of cutmarks is often unclear.
This project will use micro-morphometric characteristics of cutmarks to assess the stage of carcass decay.
We will analyse data collected from experimentation on non-human carcasses and two large human archaeological assemblages using an environmental scanning electron microscope and Alicona 3D InfiniteFocus imaging.
We are developing criteria to assess the time between an individual's death and cutmarks being made on teeth or bone. Find out how this data can improve our understanding of ancient hunting, scavenging and funerary practices.
We are using a combination of microscopy techniques to study experimental cutmarks on non-human carcasses and ancient cutmarks from human remains.
Cut-mark micro-morphometrics and the stage of carcass decay: a pilot study using 3D microscopy.
The Leverhulme Trust