Original paper

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

Anthropologischer Anzeiger Volume 73 No. 3 (2016), p. 235 - 247

published: Sep 1, 2016

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP140007303006, Price: 29.00 €

Download preview PDF Buy as PDF


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.


adipocerewater corpsepost-mortem interval