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Am J Phys Anthropol. 2008 Apr;135(4):479-83.

Brief communication: Two and three-dimensional analysis of bone mass and microstructure in a bog body from the Iron Age.

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Department for Trauma, Hand-, and Reconstructive Surgery, Center for Biomechanics and Skeletal Biology, University Medical Center Hamburg Eppendorf, Hamburg 20246, Germany.


Human remains from peat bogs, called "bog bodies," have yielded valuable insights into human history because of their excellent preservation of soft tissue. On the other hand, the acidic environment of the peat leads to an extensive demineralization of skeletal elements, complicating their analysis. We studied the skeleton of the bog body "Moora" dated to approximately 650 B.C. Nondestructive evaluation of the bone was made using contact X-rays, peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) analysis, multislice computed tomography (CT) and high resolution micro computed tomography (microCT) imaging. Two thousand seven hundred years in the acidic environment of the bog led to a loss of 92.7% of bone mineral density. Despite this demineralization and in contrast to other bog bodies, the spatial structure of the bones of "Moora" is exceptionally well preserved. We found Harris lines and were able to obtain the first three-dimensional data on the trabecular microstructure of the bone of a young woman from the early Iron Age.

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