Technical note: A histological technique for detecting the cryptic preservation of erythrocytes and soft tissue in ancient human skeletonized remains



Bone samples from a Middle Bronze Age (ca., 1600–1300 BC) site were prepared for histological analysis. Preliminary results suggested that components of bone marrow remained preserved. To verify these findings and optimize the sample preparation procedure, we conducted experiments varying the type of acid used to decalcify the bones for histology preparation, as well as the exposure time to the demineralizing agents and thickness of sections taken from the samples for slide preparation. Subsequent examination of the slides revealed the presence of well-preserved erythrocytes and other cellular structures consistent with bone marrow. Our results demonstrate that the traditional methods used to prepare bone samples for histology may be adjusted to improve the quality of the soft tissue architecture and cellular morphology for histological observation. Am J Phys Anthropol 152:566–568, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.