Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Anthropology (Forensic Anthropology Option)

Department or School/College


Committee Chair

Dr. Meradeth Snow

Commitee Members

Dr. Randall Skelton, Dr. Mark Heirigs


Forensic Anthropology, Strontium Isotopes, Coring Method


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Biological and Physical Anthropology


Isotopic analyses are gaining attention in the field of anthropology. The current utilization of strontium isotopes primarily focuses on residence and migration patterns of past populations extracting data from tooth enamel to indicate early-life residence This study aims to identify a skeletal feature to be set as a field standard in strontium analysis of modern remains when seeking end-of-life residence, the impact of diagenesis on modern remains, and to test the accuracy of the petrous as an alternative to tooth enamel.

The results of this research were unable to suggest such a standard but gathered helpful data to be used in future efforts. The trabecular bone showed evidence of higher strontium alterations due to diagenesis. The data also suggested that the petrous bone is a suitable alternative to tooth enamel. A new technique of coring cortical bone was applied and demonstrates a less destructive extraction method when gathering material to perform isotopic and DNA analysis.

The nature of this research is preliminary, any and all data will contribute to the better understanding and capability for the application of strontium analysis of forensically modern humans. The expansion of these techniques and methods to include end-of-life data would benefit the forensic, molecular, and archaeology sub-fields. This data would provide an additional tool to aid in the positive identification of modern remains of unknown individuals.



© Copyright 2022 Samantha Powers