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US Route 301 Archaeology Update

Written on: December 11th, 2013 in Archaeology Updates US301

Analysis of Burials from the Elkins Site (7NC–G–174)

The analysis of the human skeletal remains recovered from the Colonial era Elkins site in New Castle County by Hunter Research. Inc., is well underway at the University of Montana.  Under the supervision of Professor Ashley McKeown, several graduate research assistants have been collecting data from the skeletal remains in order to generate the biological profile of each individual.  This includes estimating sex, age, ancestry, and stature, and assessing any pathological conditions present.  Another interesting aspect of the analysis involves documenting the patterns of copper-oxide staining on the bone caused by contact with copper-alloy straight pins associated with the use of shrouds as part of the burial process. 

Cranium of adult female with green oxide stain from a shroud pin (arrow)

Cranium of adult female with green oxide stain from a shroud pin (arrow)

As these were unmarked burials, the information gained from the biological profiles, in conjunction with the ancient DNA analysis results, will help us understand who was buried in this small cemetery and any relationships that may have existed among these individuals.

Graduate laboratory assistant collecting data from human skeletal remains from the Elkins Site

Graduate laboratory assistant collecting data from human skeletal remains from the Elkins Site

 




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