What does lime tell us about cadaveric remains?

Aida Gutiérrez Galiacho, Dominika Nociarová, Assumpció Malgosa, Yolanda Fernández-Jalvo, Núria Armentano

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Lime is commonly used in human burials, but its effects on bodies are not clear at all. Different short-time experimental studies concluded that lime does not inhibit the decomposition of bodies. To provide the long-term effects of lime on bodies, this work presents the results of six burials of pig carcasses completely or partially covered with lime during 5 to 5 years. These experiments were carried out in the experimental facilities of Taphos-m project. After that period of time, all pig carcasses were completely or partially skeletonised, and the Bradford score values were about 90% (active decomposition). Lime casts were observed, surrounding and covering some pig cadaveric remains. Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) confirmed preservation of lime remains on bones in the cases when no lime casts were observed in the burial. Also, persistence of unexpected anatomical position (bone spatial distribution) by lime could be observed. The cortical surface of the bones was flaked and cracked, related to dryness in a permanent alkaline environment produced by lime inside burials.
Idioma originalEnglish
Nombre de pàgines10
RevistaHistorical Biology
Data online anticipada27 de des. 2023
Estat de la publicacióPublicació electrònica prèvia a impressió - 27 de des. 2023


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