Researchers from Portugal are using a neutron beam to study the molecular changes that occur when bones burn. The experiments, under way at the Isis facility in Oxfordshire, are aimed at solving a problem for archaeologists and forensic scientists.
When bones get hot they shrivel, making the age, sex and size of their original owner much more difficult to establish. By bouncing neutrons off human bone samples, burned and unburned, the team hopes to get a fix on those changes.
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