Since 2012, research has been conducted at the Lambrate Crematory (Milan). The aim was to analyse the cremains of dissected subject, decesead between 2012 and 2014 in order to collect information and match it with pre and peri-mortem data (sex, age, weight, height, pathologies, conservation condition of cadaver) and the parameters of combustion (temperature, oxygen percentage, duration of fire). The cremated remains of 173 adult Caucasians and 6 adult Asian producted by methan gas and electric ovens were analised. Of these, 162 had been dissected. Average age was 66 years old, height 168 cm, weight 76 kg and body mass index (BMI) 26,67. Cremains on average weigh 2738,04 g and 2276,90 g, with and without the fraction of fragments of <2 mm, respectively. Various measures were taken of the sex-pooled and of the male and female sub-samples in order to provide osteometric intervals standardized on the cremate sample. In particular: weight of each skeletal region; fragment dimensions; thickness of frontal, parietal and occipital bones and diaphysis of humerus and femur; antero-posterior and medium-lateral diameter of diaphysis and head vertical diameter and of humerus and femur. Most of the variables show statistically significant differences between males and females. Applicability of sexual metric methods, standardized on portoguese cremains sample, has been verified for present sample. The cremation process starts at a temperature of 600° C, reaching an average maximum temperature of 1026° C (min-max: 895° C – 1155° C), in about 30 minutes (30.10 ± 1.85; min-max: 5-50 minutes) and lasts on average for 80 minutes (min-max: 65-90 minutes). After the maximum temperature has been reached, the temperature falls off gradually to 600° C and the remains are recovered. Cremations in a gas oven determine the survival of 96.97% of sex diagnostic element, 75.72% of those diagnostic of age and shows 8,94% of deformations. Thanks to their protected position the auricular surfaces survive better than the pubic symphysis, in a ratio of about 2:1. The pubic symphysis seem show a higher survival in obese subjects. Deformations that do not appear to be related to the conservation of the cadaver or to combustion variables were observed in only 8.94% of cases. With regards to fragment colour, carbonized and grey residues were observed in more than 90% of subjects, representing a dishomogeneous physical characteristics and cadaver states of preservation. Chromatic differences taken by fresh bones were still recognizable after cremation: yellowish colour (2,5Y: 8/3, 8/4, 8/6, 8/8; 5Y: 8/3, 8/4, 8/6, 8/8 of on the Munsell Soil Chart) spreaded on the osseous surface, suggests body mummification or decomposition; brownish colouration (10YR: 6/6, 6/8, 5/4, 5/6, 5/8; 4/6; 3/6) may indicate a burial period of cadaver burial beforeprior to cremation. Among the cremains analysed were 168 subject with Striker circular saw autopsy cuts on the cranium and 38 with perimortem cranial fractures due to falls (16 cases), being struck by underground trains (3 cases), to accidents (13 cases), to blunt trauma (1 case) and to gunshot wounds (5 cases). Demographic, clinical and autopsy data with description and photographic documentation were available for these fractures. In five cases small cavities along the fracture lines were produced by cutter micro motor. Even after 90 minutes at a temperature of up to 1123° C, up to of trauma fragments with identifiable morphologies survived, particularly on thicker bones such as the occipital bone. The margins and surfaces of fractures can maintain their morphology or may be altered by further fracturing and warpings. Reddish colouration and opaque appearance of the surface cab be a criterion for perimortal lesion identification. The cremains of 3912 foetuses (representing 10 cremation events) from voluntary and therapeutic terminations of pregnancy were also investigated. Survival of all skeletal regions was observed with the exception of dental germs and carpal, tarsal, maxillary, ethmoid, lacrimal and nasal bones. The skull appears to be the most fragmented region while, in other regions, whole bones were found. It was possible to observe some pathological anomalies and measure 522 bones. The most widespread colouration is white due to calcination but black and grey can survive. Yellowish-red colouring was also observed an may reflect contact between the bones and organic tissues or blood (up to ten months may elapse between death and cremation). Fractures and deformations caused by fire were observed and comparable to those seen on the adults bones. Orthopaedic and odontoiatric prostheses from about 2700 cremations were analysed. The cremations resulted in about 586 kg of metallic residue, of which 490 kg (83.7%) was metal waste from coffins while prostetic devices accounted for 95 kg (16.3%). Types of prosthesis identified are: means of fracture fixation (intramedullary nails and plaques); prosthetic hip and shoulder (stems with and without heads, heads free and articular cups); prosthetic knee (femoral condyles and tibial plateau); heart valves, cables of pacemaker, vascular endoprosthesis; odontoiatric devices (endosseous implants; dental crowns; dental metal meshes; dental bridges). The colour tone (light and dark grey) and the different weight Indicate different types of metal: stainless steel or cobalt-chromiunm alloy (dark) ant titanium (light). The high number of prostheses found indicates the widespreas nature of surgical inverventions (about 50% of subjects with prostheses) and therefore, the potential importance of prostheses as an identifying element in forensic cases. Two experiments were conducted using muffle furnace to obtain information about teeth and perimortal lesions. In the first experiment 105 teeth divided into groups were exposed to temperatures of 50° C, 100° C, 150° C, 200° C to assess the impact of heat on root transparency, one of method used in the age estimation. The length of transparent root was measured both before and after treatment. Even at 50° C we observed changes in root transparency even if the morphological and colorimetric changes were not large. Hence, caution is suggested in using this method to determine age when subjects with apparently unaltered teeth have been in contact with heat or fire. In the second experiment 20 cow ribs were fractured with a hammer, 6 were pierced with a drill and 24 subjected to gunshot wounds. The bones were then subjected to a temperature of 800° C until calcination. Measueres pre and post-treatment showed significant changes in size, more so for blunt fractures and less so in the other two cases. The gunshot wounds also showed an increase in fractures originating from the margins of the bullet hole. In conclusion, this research has identified several critical points relating to combustion of bone that require further analysis.

STUDIO DELLE MODIFICAZIONI SUBITE DALLO SCHELETRO DURANTE IL PROCESSO DI COMBUSTIONE SU SOGGETTI NOTI / A. Mazzucchi ; tutor: C. Cattaneo ; coordinatore: N. Saino. - : . DIPARTIMENTO DI SCIENZE BIOMEDICHE PER LA SALUTE, 2015 Mar 16. ((27. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2014. [10.13130/mazzucchi-alessandra_phd2015-03-16].

STUDIO DELLE MODIFICAZIONI SUBITE DALLO SCHELETRO DURANTE IL PROCESSO DI COMBUSTIONE SU SOGGETTI NOTI

A. Mazzucchi
2015-03-16

Abstract

Since 2012, research has been conducted at the Lambrate Crematory (Milan). The aim was to analyse the cremains of dissected subject, decesead between 2012 and 2014 in order to collect information and match it with pre and peri-mortem data (sex, age, weight, height, pathologies, conservation condition of cadaver) and the parameters of combustion (temperature, oxygen percentage, duration of fire). The cremated remains of 173 adult Caucasians and 6 adult Asian producted by methan gas and electric ovens were analised. Of these, 162 had been dissected. Average age was 66 years old, height 168 cm, weight 76 kg and body mass index (BMI) 26,67. Cremains on average weigh 2738,04 g and 2276,90 g, with and without the fraction of fragments of <2 mm, respectively. Various measures were taken of the sex-pooled and of the male and female sub-samples in order to provide osteometric intervals standardized on the cremate sample. In particular: weight of each skeletal region; fragment dimensions; thickness of frontal, parietal and occipital bones and diaphysis of humerus and femur; antero-posterior and medium-lateral diameter of diaphysis and head vertical diameter and of humerus and femur. Most of the variables show statistically significant differences between males and females. Applicability of sexual metric methods, standardized on portoguese cremains sample, has been verified for present sample. The cremation process starts at a temperature of 600° C, reaching an average maximum temperature of 1026° C (min-max: 895° C – 1155° C), in about 30 minutes (30.10 ± 1.85; min-max: 5-50 minutes) and lasts on average for 80 minutes (min-max: 65-90 minutes). After the maximum temperature has been reached, the temperature falls off gradually to 600° C and the remains are recovered. Cremations in a gas oven determine the survival of 96.97% of sex diagnostic element, 75.72% of those diagnostic of age and shows 8,94% of deformations. Thanks to their protected position the auricular surfaces survive better than the pubic symphysis, in a ratio of about 2:1. The pubic symphysis seem show a higher survival in obese subjects. Deformations that do not appear to be related to the conservation of the cadaver or to combustion variables were observed in only 8.94% of cases. With regards to fragment colour, carbonized and grey residues were observed in more than 90% of subjects, representing a dishomogeneous physical characteristics and cadaver states of preservation. Chromatic differences taken by fresh bones were still recognizable after cremation: yellowish colour (2,5Y: 8/3, 8/4, 8/6, 8/8; 5Y: 8/3, 8/4, 8/6, 8/8 of on the Munsell Soil Chart) spreaded on the osseous surface, suggests body mummification or decomposition; brownish colouration (10YR: 6/6, 6/8, 5/4, 5/6, 5/8; 4/6; 3/6) may indicate a burial period of cadaver burial beforeprior to cremation. Among the cremains analysed were 168 subject with Striker circular saw autopsy cuts on the cranium and 38 with perimortem cranial fractures due to falls (16 cases), being struck by underground trains (3 cases), to accidents (13 cases), to blunt trauma (1 case) and to gunshot wounds (5 cases). Demographic, clinical and autopsy data with description and photographic documentation were available for these fractures. In five cases small cavities along the fracture lines were produced by cutter micro motor. Even after 90 minutes at a temperature of up to 1123° C, up to of trauma fragments with identifiable morphologies survived, particularly on thicker bones such as the occipital bone. The margins and surfaces of fractures can maintain their morphology or may be altered by further fracturing and warpings. Reddish colouration and opaque appearance of the surface cab be a criterion for perimortal lesion identification. The cremains of 3912 foetuses (representing 10 cremation events) from voluntary and therapeutic terminations of pregnancy were also investigated. Survival of all skeletal regions was observed with the exception of dental germs and carpal, tarsal, maxillary, ethmoid, lacrimal and nasal bones. The skull appears to be the most fragmented region while, in other regions, whole bones were found. It was possible to observe some pathological anomalies and measure 522 bones. The most widespread colouration is white due to calcination but black and grey can survive. Yellowish-red colouring was also observed an may reflect contact between the bones and organic tissues or blood (up to ten months may elapse between death and cremation). Fractures and deformations caused by fire were observed and comparable to those seen on the adults bones. Orthopaedic and odontoiatric prostheses from about 2700 cremations were analysed. The cremations resulted in about 586 kg of metallic residue, of which 490 kg (83.7%) was metal waste from coffins while prostetic devices accounted for 95 kg (16.3%). Types of prosthesis identified are: means of fracture fixation (intramedullary nails and plaques); prosthetic hip and shoulder (stems with and without heads, heads free and articular cups); prosthetic knee (femoral condyles and tibial plateau); heart valves, cables of pacemaker, vascular endoprosthesis; odontoiatric devices (endosseous implants; dental crowns; dental metal meshes; dental bridges). The colour tone (light and dark grey) and the different weight Indicate different types of metal: stainless steel or cobalt-chromiunm alloy (dark) ant titanium (light). The high number of prostheses found indicates the widespreas nature of surgical inverventions (about 50% of subjects with prostheses) and therefore, the potential importance of prostheses as an identifying element in forensic cases. Two experiments were conducted using muffle furnace to obtain information about teeth and perimortal lesions. In the first experiment 105 teeth divided into groups were exposed to temperatures of 50° C, 100° C, 150° C, 200° C to assess the impact of heat on root transparency, one of method used in the age estimation. The length of transparent root was measured both before and after treatment. Even at 50° C we observed changes in root transparency even if the morphological and colorimetric changes were not large. Hence, caution is suggested in using this method to determine age when subjects with apparently unaltered teeth have been in contact with heat or fire. In the second experiment 20 cow ribs were fractured with a hammer, 6 were pierced with a drill and 24 subjected to gunshot wounds. The bones were then subjected to a temperature of 800° C until calcination. Measueres pre and post-treatment showed significant changes in size, more so for blunt fractures and less so in the other two cases. The gunshot wounds also showed an increase in fractures originating from the margins of the bullet hole. In conclusion, this research has identified several critical points relating to combustion of bone that require further analysis.
CATTANEO, CRISTINA
SAINO, NICOLA MICHELE FRANCESCO
Cremation; burned bones; cremains weights; osteometry; heat-induced coulor colour changes; taphonomy
Settore BIO/08 - Antropologia
STUDIO DELLE MODIFICAZIONI SUBITE DALLO SCHELETRO DURANTE IL PROCESSO DI COMBUSTIONE SU SOGGETTI NOTI / A. Mazzucchi ; tutor: C. Cattaneo ; coordinatore: N. Saino. - : . DIPARTIMENTO DI SCIENZE BIOMEDICHE PER LA SALUTE, 2015 Mar 16. ((27. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2014. [10.13130/mazzucchi-alessandra_phd2015-03-16].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/266625
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