Several human skeletal collections, including cremated remains, are present, serving as reference and research material, with which existing age and sex estimation methods can be improved and/or new ones can be developed. Information on age-at-death, biological sex, stature, and pathological conditions is vital to increase our understanding of a variety of aspect of daily life in the past. In addition, the Osteo Lab provides space to a modest archaeozoological reference collection and a number of faunal identification manuals. The comparative specimens in the reference collection are a neccesary tool for the identification of animal remains from archaeological sites.
The reconstruction of human behaviour is aided by the reconstruction of burial rituals (e.g. cremation or inhumation), funerary practices (e.g. inserting grave goods, multiple individuals within one grave), production and insertion of grave goods, but also via the interpretation of pathological conditions (e.g. vitamin D deficiency) and activity markers. The analysis of animal remains can be informative about aspects of human palaeoecology, past economic activities, social dynamics and ritual practices.
Besides the use of macroscopic methods, such as visual assessment and taking measurements, our lab is also specialized in the microscopic evaluation of bone and teeth (e.g. distinguishing burnt animal from human bone when the fragments are very small and investigating teeth for vitamin D deficiency visible as interglobular dentine). The osteolab is equipped with all the necessary tools and instruments, including an IsoMet®1000 precision saw with which microscopic section can be produced, ensuring high quality research, thereby contributing to a better understanding of life in the past.
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