Archaeology is the scientific study of past cultures and the way people lived based on the things they left behind. Archaeological techniques involve finding the site, use of specialists, use of technology, dating methods, and preservation/ conservation. From the techniques used to study the remains of human bodies and the specific locations in which they were found, it is possible to learn details of their lives prior to their deaths and then later preservation. Three specific cases where the study of human remains has led to an insight into the persons life are the Ice man, Lindow man, and Tollund man.
Finding the site is the first step which involves chance finds where archaeologists come across the remains by chance, elcetrical properties is where they measure the temputure of the soil this helps find the human remains because they contain heat, and aerial photos can be laid out and the perceptive archaeologist can intuitively identify prospective buried sites by analysis of every geographic feature in the vicinity. Finding the site helps the understanding of the bodies culture, the location where a human remain is found could tell us the believes they had etc.
Ice man, Lindow man, and Old croghan man were chance finds. Once a body is found the use of specialists (a technique), is used to examine the body. The use of specialists include archaeologists which determine the human remians social status, wealth, and occupation. Forensic pathologists find the cause of death, time of death, and age/gender. Biologists tell what they ate. Specialist also use the technique use of technology which includes CT scans, X-rays, and facial reconstruction.
These techniques help the understanding of how they died and things that happened before that. To tell the social status, wealth, and occupation archaeologists examine his clothing, equipment, and age. To find the time and cause of death forensic pathologist examine the bones, CT scans and X-rays can also reveal broken or fractured bones which would help determining the death. Age is discovered by using radiocarbon dating and carbon 14 and gender is determined through the structure of bones.
To find the stomach contents biologists use ESR which examined changes in molecular structure to determine exposure to heat this can also determins what time of year they died because of the foods they ate to what season it is. For example with Ice man Archaeologist determined possible solutions for his occupation which were an outlaw, a shaman or priest, a prospector for metal ores or a hunter. Ice man’s copper axe is an important clue about his social status, copper axes and daggers were status symbols meaning membership of the warrior or leadership class, as attested to by human like stone statues of the time.
The iceman and his family therefore had consiterable status within their communuty and may well have been cattle owners, chiefs, or village repersentitives. Archaeologists believed he was quite wealthy because of his equipment such as his copper axe as it was rare to have. Forensic pathologists had a few theorys on how he died in 1994 he had CT scans and X-rays of his body which revealed several ribs that had been broken shortly before his death. Then In 2001 he was X-rayed again this time a shadow in the shape of an arrow was noticed near his shoulder.
In 2007 the cause of death was finally solved, CT images showed a lesion of the dorsal wall of the left subclavian artery caused by the already detected arrowhead that remains in the back, a large haematoma could be visulised in the surrounding tissue. The ice man died within a short time due to this lesion. Forensic pathologists uses radiocarbon dating to find his age and the tests showed that the ice man lived approximiately 5300 years ago. Biologists used the ESR to see his stomach contents and found he didnt die on a full stomoach it was found he ate bread, some type of plant possibly a herd, and meat. t was indicated that he eaten about 8 hours before he died. A second example is Lindow man, archaeologists found his social status was ranked highly in society because of his well manicured nails and smooth hands. They found he was in good wealth by using electron microscopy which revealed that his hair follicels were stepped, leading archaeologists to conclude that his hair was trimmed not long before his death with scissors or shears and these were not common items at the time. Lindow man’s stomach hand not decayed, allowing analysis for his partly digested stomach contents which included grains of cereal.
ESR was used to see the maximum cooking temperature for the meal, it seemed that lindow man had eaten a type of griddle cake which was burnt. This leads to a strong theory on how he died, forensic pathologists say lindow man was a sacrifice, lindow man was part of the celtic tribes which sought help from the sun god belenos by offering him a human sacrifice. At a festival held they have griddle cake prepared, one portion of which was deliberately burnt. The bread was given out and whoever received the burnt portion was the devoted one that is given to the gods in human sacrifice.
They say Lindow man’s end was violent with being initially hit on the head twice, one blow was hard enough to drive a splinter of bone into the brain, one of his ribs broken, suggesting he may have been kneed in the back. A 1. 5 mm thick thong ofanimal sinew was found around his neck. The body was then dropped face down into a bog pool. It was said by forensic pathologists and biologists the time of Lindow man’s death was in winter or early spring because of the food he consumed. Through visual examination forensic pathologists revealed Lindow man was about 25 to 30 years of age.
Forensic science has been able to reconstruct a picture of Lindow man’s appearance just by using CT scans and computer generated imaging, at the time of lindow man’s discovery they used templates made from x-rays of the skull to sculpture a skull from clay to reconstruct a picture. Another example of the techniques used would be Tollund man this human remain was found very interesting for archaeologist and specialists as Tollund man is a naturally mummified corpse, which ment there were excellent preservation of his features.
Archaeologists say Tollund man was wealthy and his social stats was ranked highly because of how he was placed in the bog. Most bodies are thrown in the bog, however Tollund man was placed in the sleeping position and his eyes and mouth were closed after death. Forensic examiners had no doubts when they decided on the cause of death, the Tollund man had been hanged. The rope had left a clearly visible furrow in the skin on the sides of his neck under his chin, the rope was rolled up and placed under the Tollund man. Forensic’s arnt dure on why he died.
They say he was a rich man who had been ritually sacrificed, but recent analysis suggests that he may simply have been a criminal who was hanged and buried in the peat bog. From forensic pathologists examining Tollund man they said he was over 20 because his wisdom teeth had grown in. Biologists found through ESR and examination his stomach contents were a porridge made from vegetables and seeds, both cultivated and wild. There was no meat in his digestive system and from the stage of digestion it was apparent that he lived for 12 to 24 hours after his last meal.
The importance of perservation is to stop human remains decaying. In order to preserve a bog body, scientists had to find some kind of subsance to replace the bog water which was currently filling out the hollow spaces in the cells, as all living organisms are made of cells. Some human remains are already preserved like the Iceman, iceman was frozen after he was dead, which kept him well preserved for thousands of years. Bog bodies such as lindow man and tollund man they where not preserved by ice for example tollund man was buried in a peat bog on the jutland peninsula in denmark, which preserved his body.
Also the acid in the peat, along with the lack of oxygen underneath the surface, preserved the soft tissues of his body. However Lindow man’s body tissue was poorly preserved, although his skin, teeth, bone, muscle tissue etc was preserved from the chemicals in the bog. Preservation is what helps specialists determine some of the factors of their life. Dating methods is another technique used, this involves relative dating and absolute dating.
Relative dating methods are stratigraphy- which is the layering of archaeological deposits, typoplogy- is the study of the development of particular types of artefacts over a period of time, flurine dating- is used in dating bones. Absolute dating methods are radiocarbon dating(carbon14)- which is measurement of the radioactive carbon content of organic material, dendrochronology- uses tree rings to date objects made of wood. To find out what time a human remain lived in, radiocarbon dating is used. For example Iceman had radiocarbon dating of the body carried out, by taking minute samples from the bone and tissue of iceman’s hip.
Results showed he lived 5300 years ago and from his copper axe he belonged to the copper age, 3290 BC. Also Lindow man had radiocarbon dating used which produced conflicting results, Which was believed to be late iron age/early roman period. Another example or radiocarbon dating is Tollund man. Radiocarbon dating of his hair indicated that he died in approximately 400 BC. Therefore without the archaeological techniques the lifes such as iceman, lindow man, and tollund man would be unknown. But with it, it has helped us understand the importance and the facts of ancient human remains.