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Jan 15, 2009
Skeletal Remains after 200 years
by: D. P. Lyle, MD

Yes, it is possible that the skeletal remains could be found even after 200 years. The bones themselves, depending upon environmental conditions, would likely be pale white and very brittle. In fact many of them would be fractured, shattered, and some might even be reduced to chips and bits.

It is important to note that the skeleton would definitely not be intact since all of the connecting tissues would have long since decayed. In other words the skeletal remains would simply be a pile of bones. It is also possible that many of the bones would be missing since predators may have carried them away. For the most part any clothing and other organic products would likely not be present after this length of time, but metallic items such as jewelry, belt buckles, knives, and even bullets might still be present. It is possible that certain nicks and scratches on the spinal bones as well as the ribs or any other bone the body could reveal that a knife had been used on the victim. The bones that these defects would appear on depend upon which ones were struck by the blade. In the case of establishing to the abdomen they could appear on the spinal vertebrae anywhere from around T10 to L 4 or 5. That is Thoracic 10 down to Lumbar 4 or 5. if the stab wound was to the lower abdomen they can also be seen on the pelvic bones either front or back.

I hope this answers your questions.

D.P. Lyle, MD
The Writers Medical and Forensic Lab at

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