Facts bones reveal to archaeologists

It is a well-known fact that people engaged in digging the past and excavating the life history of our ancient fore-fathers are called as archaeologists.  Discovering the past glory and trying to understand the past is one of the many fascinating subjects, and the new tools available for archaeologists make this more interesting.

For an experienced archaeologist, a single bone excavated from a historical place or for that matter, any place, can reveal a lot of details.  In fact, an archaeologist, on first examination, can instantly say whether that ancient bone either belonged to an animal or to a human being.  He can, in addition, also say where the bone belongs in the skeleton.

Bones also reveal much more things to an archaeologist.

If the archaeologist finds a single bone and discovers it to be a femur or thigh bone, then he or she can immediately find out the height of the person to whom that thigh bone belonged.

The height of a person can be determined by the size of the femur or thigh bone, using   simple calculation, such as

  • Measure the length of the thigh bone in centimeters, or A
  • Multiply the femur length by 2.6 (A x 2.6 = b)
  • Add 65 centimeters to the resulting number  (b + 65)

And, now you can say with confidence the height of the person to whom that femur bone belonged.

Suppose, an archeologist comes across a broken bone excavated from a site.  This broken bone can reveal whether that bone broke during the lifetime of a person to whom the bone belonged, or it happened after the death of the person.  It is quite possible that the bone might have been broken during excavation as well.  These bones and skeletons of our ancient forefathers are buried many years before and archaeologists excavate the earth to find the travails of history.

Tibia bones or shin bones excavated by archaeologists throw light on many things – about the lifestyle, their food habits, and such other things.  For example, an X-ray of the tibia bone can exactly say to which period the person believed.  When man did not learn the habit of storage, he or she had little access to regular food and their growth was interrupted greatly due to lack of food.  If a person suffered from lack of food, then the tibia would reveal, on X-ray, the existence of “Harris lines.”  If there is no interruption in growth due to lack of food, “Harris lines” will not be there in the tibia.  By seeing the X-ray picture of a tibia or shin bone, an archaeologist can exactly find out the period in which the person lived and what was the nature of life at that time.

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