Recording skeletal completeness: A standardised approach

Samantha K. Rowbotham, Soren Blau, Jacqueline Hislop-Jambrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Recording the preservation of human skeletal remains is the foundation of osteological analyses for forensic and archaeological skeletal material. Methods for recording the skeletal completeness, one of the components of skeletal preservation documentation, are however currently non-standardised and subjective. To provide practitioners with a scientific means to accurately quantify skeletal completeness in an adult skeleton, percentage values for each skeletal element have been established. Using computed tomography (CT) volume rendering applications and post-mortem CT skeletal data for one adult individual, the percentage value for each bone relative to the complete skeleton was calculated based on volume. Percentage values for skeletal elements ranged from 0.01% (select hand and foot bones) to 8.43% (femur). Visual and written mediums detailing individual skeletal percentages have been provided as user-friendly reference sources. Calculating the percentage of skeletal remains available for analysis provides practitioners with a means to scientifically and objectively record skeletal completeness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-123
Number of pages7
JournalForensic Science International
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Computed tomography
  • Percentage
  • Skeletal completeness
  • Skeletal preservation
  • Volume rendering

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