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Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2011 Sep;32(3):275-9. doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e3182198761.

Detection of blunt, sharp force and gunshot lesions on burnt remains: a cautionary note.

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From the *LABANOF, Laboratorio di Antropologia ed Odontologia Forense, Sezione di Medicina Legale e delle Assicurazioni di Milano, Università degli studi di Milano, Milan; and †Dipartimento di Chimica, Università di Pavia, Pavia, Italy.


The study of skin and bone lesions may give information concerning type and manner of production, but in burnt material modification of tissues by the high temperatures may considerably change the morphological characteristics of the lesions. This study aims at pointing out the effects of burning head of pigs with several types of lesions (blunt trauma, sharp force, and gunshot lesions) on soft tissues and bones, both from a morphological and chemical point of view. Results show that the charring process does not completely destroy signs of lesions on bones, which can often be recovered by cleaning bone surface from charred soft-tissue residues. Furthermore, neutron activation analysis test proved that antimony may be detectable also on gunshot entry wounds at the final stages of charring process.

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