The effect of cremation on the study of trace elements

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Cremation was a frequent practice during the Bronze and Iron Ages in Europe. The destruction caused by this rite has meant that there are few anthropological studies of this period and that the amount of information that has been obtained is limited. Most studies deal with the number of individuals and the temperature of cremation. At present, however, studies are under way to determine the possibility of carrying out analyses of trace elements on cremated individuals in order to determine their diet. The present study, carried out at a necropolis with two kinds of burial (S'Illot des Porros, Mallorca, Iron Age), presents new data regarding the diagenetic effects differentiating cremated from buried bones. The levels of Sr, Ca, Ba, Zn, Cu and Mg in the spongy and cortical tissue of 197 femurs are analysed. The results obtained at this necropolis demonstrate that only the levels of calcium and magnesium in the cortical tissue of cremated bones increase, so diagenesis acts in the same way in cremated and non‐cremated bones in this necropolis. Copyright © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-118
JournalInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1993


  • AAS
  • Cremated bone
  • multi‐element analysis


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