Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-vl2kb Total loading time: 0.402 Render date: 2021-12-05T04:55:57.424Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Bomb Peak: Radiocarbon Dating of Skeletal Remains in Routine Forensic Medical Practice

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 September 2018

Petr Handlos
Affiliation:
Forensic Medicine, University Hospital Ostrava, 17. Listopadu 1790, Ostrava CZ-708 52, Czech Republic Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Kamenice 3, Brno CZ-625 00, Czech Republic
Ivo Svetlik*
Affiliation:
Nuclear Physics Institute CAS, Na Truhlářce 39/64, Prague CZ-180 86, Czech Republic National Radiation Protection Institute, Bartoškova 28, CZ-140 00 Prague, Czech Republic
Ladislava Horáčková
Affiliation:
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Kamenice 3, Brno CZ-625 00, Czech Republic
Michal Fejgl
Affiliation:
National Radiation Protection Institute, Bartoškova 28, CZ-140 00 Prague, Czech Republic
Lukas Kotik
Affiliation:
National Radiation Protection Institute, Bartoškova 28, CZ-140 00 Prague, Czech Republic
Veronika Brychová
Affiliation:
Nuclear Physics Institute CAS, Na Truhlářce 39/64, Prague CZ-180 86, Czech Republic
Natália Megisová
Affiliation:
Nuclear Physics Institute CAS, Na Truhlářce 39/64, Prague CZ-180 86, Czech Republic
Klára Marecová
Affiliation:
Department of Forensic Medicine and Medical Law, University Hospital Olomouc, CZ-779 00 Olomouc, Czech Republic
*
*Corresponding author. Email: svetlik@ujf.cas.cz.

Abstract

When human remains are found, apart from helping explain the cause of death and determining the extent of any injuries, forensic pathologists are usually requested to determine the identity of the deceased and how much time has elapsed since his death. In the Czech Republic, the criminal liability for murder is set to a statute of limitations of 20 years. In our pilot study, tissue samples of human remains from two decedents were radiocarbon (14C) dated to estimate the date of death. In agreement with published literature, we have confirmed relatively short carbon turnover time in hair, nail, and bone fat. Therefore these samples are the most appropriate for determining date of death. Other samples, such as teeth (collagen and carbonate form) and collagen isolated from bone samples, which exhibit relatively long carbon turnover time, can be used to reduce ambiguity of dating results and to indicate some interfering influences. Given the possibility of processing multiple sample types, we also propose brief guidelines for comparing and interpreting the results of individual analyses.

Type
Anthropogenic
Copyright
© 2018 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

For instance, using the LEVIN curve and an activity value of 1.980±0.005 F14C, we obtain a single interval in 1963 (Levin and Kromer 2004; Hammer and Levin 2017).

References

Acsádi, G, Nemeskéri, J, Balás, K. 1970. History of Human Life Span and Mortality. Budapest: Akademiai Kiado.Google Scholar
Alkass, K, Buchholz, B, Druid, H, Spalding, K. 2011. Analysis of 14C and 13C in teeth provides precise birth dating and clues to geographical origin. Forensic Science International 209(1):3441.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Alkass, K, Buchholz, BA, Ohtani, S, Yamamoto, T, Druid, H, Spalding, KL. 2010. Age estimation in forensic sciences: Application of combined aspartic acid racemization and radiocarbon analysis. Molecular and Cellular Proteomics 9:10221030.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ash, MM, Nelson, SJ. 2003. Development and eruption of the teeth. In: Wheeler’s Dental Anatomy, Physiology and Occlusion. St. Louis (MO): WB Saunders. p 2960.Google Scholar
Barta, P, Štolc, S. 2007. HBCO correction: its impact on archaeological absolute dating. Radiocarbon 49(2):465472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bonsall, C, Cook, GT, Hedges, REM, Higham, TFG, Pickard, C, Radovanovič, I. 2004. Radiocarbon and stable isotope evidence of dietary change from the Mesolithic to the Middle Ages in the iron gates: new results from Lepenski Vir. Radiocarbon 46(1):293300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bruzek, J. 2002. A method for visual determination of sex, using the human hip bone. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 117(2):157168.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Buchholz, BA, Spalding, KL. 2010. Year of birth determination using radiocarbon dating of dental enamel. Surface and Interface Analysis 42(5): 398401.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Calcagnile, L, Quarta, G, Cattaneo, C, D’Elia, M. 2013. Determining 14C content in different human tissues: implications for application of 14C bomb-spike dating in forensic medicine. Radiocarbon 55(2–3):18451849.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Colonese, AC, Farrell, T, Lucquin, A, Firth, D, Charlton, S, Robson, HK, Alexander, M, Craig, OE. 2015. Archaeological bone lipids as palaeodietary markers. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 29(7):611618.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cook, GT, Dunbar, E, Black, SM, Xu, S. 2006. A preliminary assessment of age at death determination using the nuclear weapons testing 14C activity of dentine and enamel. Radiocarbon 48(3):305313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cook, GT, MacKenzie, AB. 2014. Radioactive isotope analyses of skeletal materials in forensic science: a review of uses and potential uses. International Journal of Legal Medicine 128(4):685698.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cook, GT, Ainscough, LAN, Dunbar, E. 2015. Radiocarbon analysis of modern skeletal remains to determine year of birth and death—a case study. Radiocarbon 57(3):327336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Czech Penal Code; Act no. 140. 1961. Coll., Limitation of prosecution, Section 67, §1.Google Scholar
Dibennardo, R, Taylor, JV. 1983. Multiple discriminant function analysis of sex and race in the postcranial skeleton. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 61(3):305314.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Evershed, RP, Turner-Walker, G, Hedges, RE, Tuross, N, Leyden, A. 1995. Preliminary results for the analysis of lipids in ancient bone. Journal of Archaeological Science 22(2):277290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Folch, J, Lees, M, Sloane Stanley, GH. 1957. A simple method for the isolation and purification of total lipids from animal tissues. Journal of Biological Chemistry 226(1):497509.Google ScholarPubMed
Geyh, MA. 2001. Bomb radiocarbon dating of animal tissues and hair. Radiocarbon 43(2B):723730.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goldberg, M, Kulkarni, AB, Young, M, Boskey, A. 2011. Dentine: structure, composition and mineralization: The role of dentin ECM in dentin formation and mineralization. Frontiers in Bioscience 1(3):711735.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hammer, S, Levin, I. 2017. Monthly mean atmospheric Δ14CO2 at Jungfraujoch and Schauinsland from 1986 to 2016, heiDATA Dataverse, V2 [Internet]. Available from http://dx.doi.org/10.11588/data/10100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Handlos, P, Svetlik, I, Dobiáš, M, Smatanová, M, Dvořáček, I, Joukal, M, Marecová, K, Horáčková, L. 2017. Dating of skeletal remains by radiocarbon method in a common part of forensic medical practice. Chemické listy 111:445448 (in Czech).Google Scholar
Hodgins, GWL. 2009. Measuring Atomic Bomb-Derived 14 C Levels in Human Remains to Determine Year of Birth and/or Year of Death. Washington (DC): U.S. Department of Justice Report, document number 227839.Google Scholar
Hogg, AG, Hua, Q, Blackwell, PG, Zimmerman, SRH. 2013. SHCal13 Southern Hemisphere calibration, 0–50,000 years cal BP. Radiocarbon 55(4):18891903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hua, Q, Barbetti, M, Rakowski, AZ. 2013. Atmospheric radiocarbon for the period 1950–2010. Radiocarbon 55(4):20592072.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Iscan, MY, Steyn, M. 2013. The Human Skeleton in Forensic Medicine. Springfield (IL): Charles C. Thomas.Google Scholar
Jim, S, Ambrose, SH, Evershed, RP. 2004. Stable carbon isotopic evidence for differences in the dietary origin of bone cholesterol, collagen and apatite: implications for their use in palaeodietary reconstruction. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 68(1):6172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keaveney, E, Reimer, PJ. 2012. Understanding the variability in freshwater radiocarbon reservoir offsets: a cautionary tale. Journal of Archaeological Science 39(5):13061316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kromer, B, Lindauer, S, Synal, H-A, Wacker, L. 2013. MAMS – a new AMS facility at the Curt-Engelhorn Centre for Achaeometry, Mannheim, Germany. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 294:1113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Levin, I, Kromer, B. 2004. The tropospheric 14CO2 level in mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere (1959–2003). Radiocarbon 46(3):12611272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Levin, I, Naegler, T, Kromer, B, Worthy, DE. 2010. Observations and modelling of the global distribution and long-term trend of atmospheric 14CO2 . Tellus B 62(1):2646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Longin, R. 1971. New method of collagen extraction for radiocarbon dating. Nature 230(5291):241322.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lovejoy, CO. 1985. Dental wear in the Libben population: Its functional pattern and role in the determination of adult skeletal age at death. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 68(1): 4756.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Mann, RW, Bass, WM, Meadows, L. 1990. Time since death and decomposition of the human body: variables and observations in case and experimental field studies. Journal of Forensic Sciences 35(1):103111.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Marquez-Grant, N, Fibiger, L. 2011. The Routledge Handbook of Archaeological Human Remains and Legislation: An International Guide to Laws and Practice in the Excavation and Treatment of Archaeological Human Remains. Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Martin, R, Saller, K. 1957. Lehrbuch der Anthropologie. In: Systematischer Darstellung. Stuttgart: Fischer.Google Scholar
Marzaioli, F, Fiumano, V, Capano, M, Passariello, I, Cesare, ND, Terrasi, F. 2011. Forensic applications of 14C at CIRCE. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 269:31713175.Google Scholar
McKern, TW, Stewart, TD. 1957. Skeletal age changes in young American males analysed from the standpoint of age identification. Natick (MA): Quartermaster Research & Development Center, Environmental Protection Research Division. Technical report EP-45.Google Scholar
Meijer, HAJ, van der Plicht, J, Gislefoss, JS, Nydal, R. 1995. Comparing long-term atmospheric 14C and 3H records near Groningen, the Netherlands with Fruholmen, Norway and Izaña, Canary Islands 14C stations. Radiocarbon 37(1):3950.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Meindl, RS, Lovejoy, CO, Mensforth, RP, Walker, RA. 1985. A revised method of age determination using the os pubis, with a review and tests of accuracy of other current methods of pubic symphyseal aging. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 68(1):2945.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Molnár, M, Janovics, R, Major, I, Orsovszki, J, Gönczi, R, Veres, M, Leonard, AG, Castle, SM, Lange, TE, Wacker, L, Hajdas, I, Jull, AJT. 2013a. Status report of the new AMS 14C sample preparation lab of the Hertelendi Laboratory of Environmental Studies (Debrecen, Hungary). Radiocarbon 55(2–3):665676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Molnár, M, Rinyu, L, Veres, M, Seiler, M, Wacker, L, Synal, H-A. 2013b. EnvironMICADAS: a mini 14C-AMS with enhanced gas ion source interface in the Hertelendi Laboratory of Environmental Studies (HEKAL), Hungary. Radiocarbon 55(2–3):338344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Müldner, G. 2015. Investigating medieval diet and society by stable isotope analysis of human bone. In: Gilchrist R, Reynolds A, editors. Reflections: 50 Years of Medieval Archaeology. Leeds: Maney. p 327346.Google Scholar
Nakamura, T, Koike, H, Aizawa, J, Okuno, M. 2015. Growth process in an elephant tusk: Age estimations based on temporal variations in bomb-radiocarbon content. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 361:496499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nydal, R, Lovseth, K, Syrstad, O. 1971. Bomb 14C in the human population. Nature 232:418421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ohtani, S, Ito, R, Yamamoto, T. 2003. Differences in the D/L aspartic acid ratios in dentin among different types of teeth from the same individual and estimated age. International Journal of Legal Medicine 117:149152.Google Scholar
Ohtani, S, Masushima, Y, Kobayashi, Y, Yamamoto, T. 2002. Age estimation by measuring the racemization of aspartic acid from total amino acid content of several types of bone and rib cartilage: a preliminary account. Journal of Forensic Sciences 47:3236.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ohtani, S, Yamamoto, T. 2010. Age estimation by amino acid racemization in human teeth. Journal of Forensic Sciences 55:16301633.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ohtani, S. 1997. Different racemization ratios in dentin from different locations within a tooth. Growth Development and Aging 61:9399.Google Scholar
Orsovszki, G, Rinyu, L. 2015. Flame-sealed tube graphitization using zinc as the sole reduction agent: Precision improvement of EnvironMICADAS 14C measurements on graphite targets. Radiocarbon 57(5):979990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reimer, PJ, Bard, E, Bayliss, A, Beck, JW, Blackwell, PG, Ramsey, CB, Buck, CE, Cheng, H, Edwards, RL, Friedrich, M, Grootes, PM, Guilderson, TP, Haflidason, H, Hajdas, I, Hatté, C, Heaton, TJ, Hoffmann, DL, Hogg, AG, Hughen, KA, Kaiser, KF, Kromer, B, Manning, SW, Niu, M, Reimer, RW, Richards, DA, Scott, EM, Southon, JR, Staff, RA, Turney, CSM, van der Plicht, J. 2013. IntCal13 and Marine13 radiocarbon age calibration curves 0–50,000 years cal BP. Radiocarbon 55(4):18691887.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reimer, PJ, Brown, TA, Reimer, RW. 2004. Discussion: reporting and calibration of post-bomb 14C data. Radiocarbon 46(3):12991304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reimer, R, Reimer, P. 2004. CALIBomb – calibration of post-bomb 14C data. [Internet] [updated 2017 Mar 22]. Available from http://calib.qub.ac.uk/CALIBomb/.Google Scholar
Rinyu, L, Molnár, M, Major, I, Nagy, T, Veres, M, Kimák, Á, Wacker, L, Synal, H-A. 2013. Optimization of sealed tube graphitization method for environmental 14C studies using MICADAS. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 294:270275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rinyu, L, Orsovszki, G, Futó, I, Veres, M, Molnár, M. 2015. Application of zinc sealed tube graphitization on sub-milligram samples using Environ MICADAS. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 361:406413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Santos, GM, De La Torre, HAM, Boudin, M, Bonafini, M, Saverwyns, S. 2015. Improved radiocarbon analyses of modern human hair to determine the year-of-death by cross-flow nanofiltered amino acids: common contaminants, implications for isotopic analysis, and recommendations. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 29:17651773.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Schmied, SAK, Brunnermeier, MJ, Schupfner, R, Wolfbeis, OS. 2011. Age assessment of ivory by analysis of 14C and 90Sr to determine whether there is an antique on hand. Forensic Science International 207:e1e4.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sjøvold, T. 1990. Estimation of stature from long bones utilizing the line of organic correlation. Human Evolution 5(5):431447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Spalding, KL, Buchholz, BA, Bergman, L-E, Druid, H, Frisen, J. 2005. Age written in teeth by nuclear tests. Nature 437(7057):333334.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Suess, HE. 1955. Radiocarbon concentration in modern wood. Science 122(3166):415417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ubelaker, DH, Buchholz, BA, Stewart, JEB. 2006. Analysis of artificial radiocarbon in different skeletal and dental tissue types to evaluate date of death. Journal of Forensic Sciences 51(3):484488.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ubelaker, DH, Parra, RC. 2011. Radiocarbon analysis of dental enamel and bone to evaluate date of birth and death: perspective from the Southern Hemisphere. Forensic Science International 208(1–3):103107.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wild, EM, Arlamovsky, KA, Golser, R, Kutschera, W, Priller, A, Puchegger, S, Rom, W, Steier, P, Vycudilik, W. 2000. 14C dating with the bomb peak: An application to forensic medicine. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 172:944950.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
9
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Bomb Peak: Radiocarbon Dating of Skeletal Remains in Routine Forensic Medical Practice
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Bomb Peak: Radiocarbon Dating of Skeletal Remains in Routine Forensic Medical Practice
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Bomb Peak: Radiocarbon Dating of Skeletal Remains in Routine Forensic Medical Practice
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *