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Trauma in this case describes any damage evident that can be seen on the skeletal remains, which occurred during life. If the injury was survived, some degree of bone healing may be seen. If it proved fatal, there will be little change to the bone by organic processes.

It is important to be able to distinguish between trauma and taphonomy - that is damage to the bone after death. Taphonomic breaks often follow lines of weakness in the skeleton, for example along bone joins or suture lines, and without an obvious impact point. Alternatively, if the damage occurred by recent impact (such as blunt force by a gardening tool or farming implement at the point the bones were discovered), there is often a clear colour mismatch between the bone and the fracture site, showing that the colouration from burial did not affect that area, and so showing it to be a recent breakage.

Many more images of healed trauma bones are available, especially of fractured limbs that have healed. However, as they were taken working with anatomists and other professionals, and sometimes of material that is held under the Human Tissue Act, the images cannot easily be displayed ethically. Please contact the skeleton photographer​ directly if you have need of such photos for academic research.

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