By Caley Mein
Supervised by Professor Anna Williams, University of Central Lancashire.
Trauma is often seen in anthropological examinations, both in forensic and archaeological contexts, but while the effects of trauma on soft tissue decomposition have been well researched, but the effects of trauma on bone alterations over time have not been established. Skeletal tissue can undergo a series of physical and chemical changes after death, which are dependent on the condition of the remains and on the deposition environment. The main drivers of these changes are microbial attack. This research hypothesises that damage to the surface of the bones, such as that caused by trauma, can lead to easier microbial access to the internal microstructure of the bone, resulting in increased diagenetic changes around the trauma site.
As bone diagenesis has been heavily researched in attempts to develop more accurate post-mortem interval estimations, it is important to understand the extent at which trauma could affect diagenesis. This PhD project uses porcine bones to compare the extent of microbially-driven bone diagenesis occurring over time in bones that have been subjected to either sharp-force trauma, or blunt-force trauma and bones that have no surface damage using histological and trace elemental analysis.
The aim of this research is to add to the current knowledge and understanding around bone diagenesis in forensic timescales.
About the author
Caley Mein is a PhD researcher based at the University of Central Lancashire, supervised by Professor Anna Williams. Prior to starting her PhD, she undertook a Masters by Research at the University of Huddersfield, also supervised by Professor Anna Williams. For this she conducted research into the microbial origins of bone diagenesis. Other qualifications include a BSc in Forensic and Analytical Science from the University of Huddersfield, and a Diploma of Higher Education in Operating Department Practice. Areas of interest include forensic anthropology, forensic taphonomy, death sciences, and bioarchaeology. She has presented research at various conferences, both in the UK and internationally. Her current research is kindly part-funded through a studentship from Hunter Publications Ltd.