Preliminary investigation of the cremated remains from Ipplepen 2016

Cremation pit with cremation burial in situ
Pit [12047] containing cremation burial
An exciting, and unexpected, discovery during excavations in 2016 was a small group of cremated human remains. The remains had been carefully placed in a small, shallow pit with the largest fragments, including the leg bones, at the bottom. The bone represents a single individual whose sex could not be determined but who was probably a young adult female or young gracile adult male. The level of bone fusion and presence of adult tooth roots suggest the individual was over 17 but under 30 years of age. After cleaning the vast majority of the bone was shown to be a uniform neutral white, indicating burning at 940°C and above (Shipman et al. 1984). The fracture patterns identified suggest the remains were fleshed at the time of cremation with the largest bone fragment size being 81mm. We are awaiting the results of radiocarbon dating before comparison with other cremations in the South West can be made.

 

Mandy Kingdom

 

Reference

Shipman, P., Foster, G. and Schoeninger, M. 1984: ‘Burnt bones and teeth: an experimental study of colour, morphology and crystal structure and shrinkage’, J. Archaeol. Sci. 11, 307–25.

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