Dating of Skeletal Remains by Radiocarbon Method in a Common Part of Forensic Medical Practice

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P. Handlosa,b,e, I. Světlíkc, M. Dobiášd, M. Smatanováa,e, I. Dvořáčeka,e, M. Joukalb, K. Marecovád, and L. Horáčkováb

a Forensic Medicine, University Hospital Ostrava, Ostrava, b Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Brno, c Nuclear Physics Institute, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, d Department of Forensic Medicine and Medical Law, Faculty Hospital Olomouc, Olomouc, e Department of Intensive Medicine and Forensic Studies, University of Ostrava, Ostrava

Keywords: skeletal remains, post mortem interval, World War II, mass grave, radiocarbon dating


The article below presents a case of skeletal remains found in 2014 in the Czech Republic. The most important tasks during the examination were to determine not only the cause of death, but also how old the remains were. For the purposes of the analysis, anthropometric and morphometric methods were used. These methods did not enable us to determine the exact time of death, though the accompanying findings suggested that the remains came probably from World War II. To determine it, radiocarbon dating was also applied, which helped us to exclude clearly any possibility that the skeletal remains might be younger than 20 years and thus be subject to a criminal investigation.


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