Applying forensic techniques to interpret cranial fracture patterns in an archaeological specimen
Article first published online: 4 DEC 1998
Copyright © 1996 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
International Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Volume 6, Issue 1, pages 2–9, January 1996
How to Cite
Berryman, H. E. and Haun, S. J. (1996), Applying forensic techniques to interpret cranial fracture patterns in an archaeological specimen. Int. J. Osteoarchaeol., 6: 2–9. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1212(199601)6:1<2::AID-OA244>3.0.CO;2-R
- Issue published online: 4 DEC 1998
- Article first published online: 4 DEC 1998
- Manuscript Accepted: 15 MAY 1995
- Manuscript Received: 28 JAN 1995
- blunt trauma;
- gunshot wound;
- bone fracture
This paper presents some of the basic principles of bone fracture physics and outlines characteristics used by forensic anthropologists to distinguish gunshot trauma from blunt trauma. The fracture pattern of a cranium from a historic cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee provides an example of how the mechanism of trauma could be misinterpreted. The pattern of the perimortem fractures is indicative of gunshot trauma with a bullet entering one side of the vault and impacting the opposite side. Identification of radiating fractures, concentric heaving fractures, and observation of the direction of bevel on the fractured surfaces are essential for interpretation of the mechanism that produced the injury.