skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 229262 Find in a Library
Title: Identification of a Human Skull Recovered From an eBay Sale
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:54  Issue:6  Dated:November 2009  Pages:1247-1253
Author(s): Ryan M. Seidmann, M.A., J.D.; Christopher M. Stojanowski, Ph.D.; Frederick J. Rich, Ph.D.
Date Published: November 2009
Page Count: 7
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper presents the results of bioarchaeological and sedimentological analysis of the features of a human skull seized from an eBay auction sale.
Abstract: The study was able to determine that the skull was likely a middle-age Native-American female. The presence of intentional cranial modification independently supported the population affinity assessment while impeding metric analyses. No further specificity as to population affinity could be determined using existing methods and comparative databases. Sedimentological and polynological analyses were attempted to remedy these limitations. The presence of fine-grained charcoal, abundant fungal remains, and small angular quartz grains suggestive of burial in loess, as well as the lack of pollen pteridophyte spores, and microscopic algae suggests a likely upland burial location somewhere in the lower Mississippi Valley. Further information and several Native-American artifacts were obtained from the seller by an investigator. The seller was cooperative, offering a search of his home and other properties for other materials of interest in the investigation. The seller obtained the skull from the estate of a well-known antiquities collector during the early and middle 20th century. A substantial portion of the estate was donated to the State of Louisiana. The sex of the individual was determined by using the Buikstra and Ubelaker scoring system. Of the five traits in this scoring system, the only feature that marginally suggests a male is the thickness of the supraborbital margin. A sex estimate was also derived from metric comparison of the size and shape of the skull compared with samples of known sex. The inability to identify with more certainty whether a current cultural group is affiliated with the skull emphasizes the need for further data collection from Native-American remains in the United States. 3 tables and 55 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Bone analysis; Investigative techniques; Victim identification
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.