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Osteoware: Standardized Skeletal Documentation Software

Osteoware: Standardized Skeletal Documentation Software

Commingled remains

I am working on a bundle reburial that contains 12 individuals. Each of the skulls was given its own burial number; however, all the postcranial elements were boxed together unsorted. The remains contain adults, subadults, and infants. I understand the inventory aspect, but how do the metric data and pathological observations (etc) get handled in the system? Would it all just be described in the notes section?

(Also, as an aside, the system did not send me a password when I registered, which prevented me from changing it once I was in the system. I don't know how I will be able to log in again once I post this question.)

Thanks for any help you can provide.

DUDARC's picture
Submitted by DUDARC on

Hi Donna,

Thanks for your interest in Osteoware and the forum post regarding the commingled inquiry.  

If you have a mix of adult, sub-A, and infants, can you conduct PC and cranial reassociations of the 12 individuals prior to data entry?  That way you can save yourself some data management headaches later on.

If the MNI is 12, but there could be more (or many more), then in Osteoware you would use the ‘Tracking’ feature for individual bones and then capture metrics, path, taphonomy bone-by-bone.  A description of how to do so is in the software manual.

In ossuary excavation bones are usually recovered square by square,  so I suggest you use the recovery square as the catalog number and then track bones within that square number.  The skulls would also come from an excavation square, and these ‘individuals’ would also be entered under the square number BUT then receive an individual letter via the ‘Add Individual’ feature.  Thus there may be several skulls from one square (e.g. Sq 34), but each skull has a letter 34-A, 34-B,…   Each bone from that square will have a tracking number, 34-1, 34-2,… 

Now, if you don’t have any excavation control and all the PC bones are simply in a lot, and the burial numbers assigned to the skulls have no provenience/location information, then perhaps track/enter the PC bones simply under a false catalog number such as PC LOT.   Thus each bone will be PC LOT-1, PC LOT-2, …  

Certainly not ideal, but it will facilitate data entry.

Good luck!  And do not hesitate if you have any other questions.