The assessment of adipocere to estimate the post-mortem interval – a skeleton from the tidelands
Jopp-Van Well, Eilin; Augustin, Christa; Busse, Björn; Fuhrmann, Andreas; Hahn, Michael; Tsokos, Michael; Verhoff, Marcel; Schulz, Friedrich
This paper discusses the discovery of a skeletonized water corpse with hollow bones filled with adipocere found in the tidelands of the river Elbe close to Otterndorf (Wesermarsch, Cuxhaven). Through macroscopic and microscopic methods, the existing adipocere was described. The post-mortem interval was assessed by a comparison of the radiocarbon data and the indications about the preservation of adipocere from the literature. The investigation has shown that the knowledge of post-mortem changes in adipocere within bone structures is still incomplete, especially for the assessment of water corpses with long post-mortem intervals.