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Université de Bordeaux
LabEx LaScArBxCluster of Excellence
Cluster of excellence

Virtual reconstitution of human bones: Preliminary methodological research into the study of fragmented prehistoric remains

Sébastien Villotte

PACEA Partners: 

UPS Archéovision

Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique (IRSNB)

Université Libre de Bruxelles 

Finance: €21,824

Duration: 8-months Fixed-term contract recruitment: planned.

This project, which has an exploratory dimension, proposes innovative methodological research to respond to problems linked to the study of fragmented prehistoric human remains. The objective is to try to develop an original method aiming to reproduce the missing parts of bone remnants. A virtual database of 30 humerus bones will be built up from osteological collections. Each of these humerus bones will be virtually cut up and a part will be deleted for the rest of the protocol. Each of the cut bones will then be completed by “morphing” from the other complete humerus bones contained in the database. The 29 reconstructions obtained will be compared to the original humerus in order to quantify the differences between the reconstructed models and the originals.

A statistical study will reveal the error in measurement introduced in the reconstituted model. This repetition will provide the opportunity to define the parts of the bone where the results remain consistent during the process and differ little or not at all from the reference model. Measurements taken within the scope of these stable reconstructed areas can then be considered reliable. This research at the frontiers of palaeoanthropology, virtual archaeoanthropology, and the problems linked to heritage, comes under the heading as such that of themes 1 and 3 of LaScArBx.