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Tomasz Konopka, Anita Szczepanek, Marcin M. Przybyła and Piotr Włodarczak


This study uses anthropological and forensic medical analyses to determine the cause of fractures found in the remains of 15 individuals buried at a site associated with the Globular Amphora Culture (2875-2670 BC). The intent was to determine the mechanism underlying the injuries and to indicate the types of tools that might have inflicted the blows. The fractures were diversified in their forms, but the majority of the injuries appear to have been inflicted by a flint axe, which is frequently found in graves of the Globular Amphora Culture. Apart from the forearm being severed in one of the victims, all the remaining skeletons showed from 1 to 4 injuries involving solely the skulls. The grave might contain victims attacked by invaders who executed the captives, or else the feature is ritual in character and it reflects the beliefs of the Neolithic community.

Open access

Krzysztof Szostek, Beata Stepańczak, Anita Szczepanek, Małgorzata Kępa, Henryk Głąb, Paweł Jarosz, Piotr Włodarczak, Krzysztof Tunia, Jacek Pawlyta, Czesława Paluszkiewicz and Grzegorz Tylko

Diagenetic signals from ancient human remains - bioarchaeological applications

This preliminary study examines the potential effects of diagenetic processes on the oxygen-isotope ratios of bone and tooth phosphate (δ18O) from skeletal material of individuals representing the Corded Ware Culture (2500-2400 BC) discovered in Malżyce (Southern Poland). Intra-individual variability of Ca/P, CI, C/P, collagen content (%) and oxygen isotopes was observed through analysis of enamel, dentin and postcranial bones. Using a variety of analytical techniques, it was found that, despite the lack of differences in soil acidity, not all the parts of a skeleton on a given site had been equally exposed to diagenetic post mortem changes. In a few cases, qualitative changes in the FTIR spectrum of analysed bones were observed. The data suggest that apart from quantitative analyses, i.e., the calculation of Ca/P, CI, C/P and collagen content, qualitative analyses such as examination of the absorbance line are recommended. The degree to which a sample is, contaminated on the basis of any additional, non-biogenic peaks, deemed to be contaminated should also be specified.