Osteology 101- Part 5/5: Traumas and Body Modifications

September 10, 2019




Today’s blog post will be short, as we already discussed some traumas in the previous video. Thence, to give you a sigh of relief on the last of this Osteo 101 series, today you will look at more images than words (yay!).



Ballistics traumas (i.e. firearms, projectiles) are relatively easy to spot. As you saw in the video, the result of a bullet wound, for example, is a blatant and gaping hole in the bone. Naturally, there are examples of people surviving bullet shots into the head. However, we can usually assume a bullet hole directly into the skull may have been a cause of death. Therefore, these types of “instant killer” traumas will likely lack the new bone formation along the edges of the hole, as the bone would not have time to remodel and heal.



Traumas that are result of being a hard knock in the head such as, a blunt or sharp object, and accidents/falling can leave marks, but will not necessarily determine a cause-of-death. Naturally, some fatal results like infections can be triggered by accidents. However, when we consider these types of traumas, it’s suggested to look for what’s happening with the bone around it. A person is more likely to survive from a head bonk, especially in comparison to bullets. Therefore, the bone could show signs of healing and provide us with more information.

Of course we have more examples of traumas like trephination, skull and foot binding, modifications, etc. Though, photos speak louder than words for this topic today.


Anyways, that is all your required reading for today. See below for some wild examples resulting from these types of traumas.




Fig. 1: Trephination and Craniotomy

More info: https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Preconquest-Peruvian-neurosurgeons%3A-a-study-of-Inca-Marino-Gonz%C3%A1les-Portillo/410a762584b3f61436a610a24bd3cdbb9c62a24d/figure/11?fbclid=IwAR0pqBWiJ6ysib7xSJt8eCy9G-jeWJVHB5sYsLMZYT61enr6axxsazYvqPM




Fig. 2: Cranial Modification

Source: Tiesler 2012, Studying cranial vault modifications in ancient Mesoamerica. Journal of Anthropological Sciences 90 (33-58).





Fig. 3: Reconstruction of methods to artificial cranial deformation from Sirmium, Serbia

More Info:https://thesebonesofmine.com/2016/10/17/guest-post-an-introduction-to-artificial-cranial-deformation-from-the-great-migration-period-in-europe-by-maja-miljevic/




Fig. 4: Ballistics wound in pelvis, A displays entry wound, B displays exit wound.

Source: Humphrey, C. & Henneberg, M. 2017. Anthropological analysis of projectile trauma to the bony regions of the trunk. Anthropological Review 80 (2), 207-218.



Fig. 5: Fracture of left parietal bone from recorded car accident.

Source: Kranioti, E. 2015, Forensic investigation of cranial injuries due to blunt force trauma: current best practice. Research and Reports in Forensic Medical Science 5.



Fig. 6: Cranial blunt force trauma

Source: Kranioti, E. 2015, Forensic investigation of cranial injuries due to blunt force trauma: current best practice. Research and Reports in Forensic Medical Science 5.



Fig. 7: Sharp force trauma on top rear of skull

More Info: https://www.le.ac.uk/richardiii/science/osteology-5-injuries.html



Fig. 8: A dental modification in the population of Semawang in Bali

Source: Koesbardiati, T., Bayu Murti, D., Adi Suriyanto, R. 2015, Cultural Dental Modification in Prehistoric Population in Indonesia. Bulletin - International Association for Palaeodontology 9 (2).





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