Joint disassociation pattern from a taphonomical and anthropological point of view

Dominika Nociarová, Aida Gutiérrez Galiacho, Núria Armentano, Pere Ibáñez-Gimeno, Ignasi Galtés, Assumpció Malgosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Understanding the way in which skeleton is disarticulated helps to interpret taphonomical process during the human decomposition and the evolution of corpses in advanced state of decomposition. This information may help to reconstruct the burial circumstances. Joint disassociation pattern could seem easy to deduce but slight movements of bones or subjective interpretation of position makes the correct taphonomical interpretation difficult. The aim of this study is to develop a method to analyse the joint disassociation pattern of different articulations that can be useful in diverse burial circumstances. Different bone articulations from 54 unclaimed skeletal human remains from cemetery conditions (i.e. bodies buried in a void and limited by coffins and clothes) were examined. Joints were classified as articulated, disarticulated or displaced, depending on the minimum number of unidirectional movements needed to rebuild them. This method could be helpful to interpret changes related with the post mortem environment or human intervention, as well as to describe the funerary ritual in ancient remains and the circumstances surrounding the death in a forensic context.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalHistorical Biology
Early online dateJul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2023


  • Human remains
  • articulation pattern
  • cemetery
  • funerary ritual


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