IRonBONE – Returning ‘metrics’ to osteometrics in burned human skeletal remains: estimating heat-induced dimensional change through spectroscopy

The objective of this project (IRonBONE – Infrared Spectroscopy on Burned Bone) is to apply vibrational spectroscopy techniques to determine dimensional changes in human burned bones and teeth, namely Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) and Inelastic Neutron Scattering (INS) spectroscopies. Most specifically, age-at-death, sex, ancestry and stature can be estimated on skeletal remains through metric methods. However, teeth and bones burned at very high temperatures present considerable dimensional changes in the form of shrinkage or, less commonly, expansion and this interferes with the precision of the estimation because it is based in references obtained from unburned skeletons. One solution to this problem would be to estimate the amount of shrinkage or expansion but no way of doing this has been devised until now. We propose to develop such a method.

Duration: 2016-2018

Coordinator (PI): David Gonçalves (CIAS/InBIO)

Funding: Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (PTDC/IVC-ANT/1201/2014 & POCI-01-0145-FEDER-016766)

Reference: PTDC/IVC-ANT/1201/2014 (Portugal)