There has been little or no evidence suggestive of antemortem injuries sustained by any of the three individuals. Historical accounts mention two men being killed prior to the ship sinking, one by a falling topmast, and another crushed by a cannon sliding across the ship's deck. Considering the nature of their deaths, evidence of skeletal fracture patterns suggestive of such a death might be expected if these two unnamed men were amongst the Pandora collection of bones. Evidently, no such fracture patterns have been observed consistent with an origin in an individual killed under such traumatic circumstances.

There was however, a single unidentified bone which exhibited characteristics worth mentioning. This bone was not directly identified as being human and may therefore be irrelevant. Of interest was the fracture pattern seen on the end of the bone.

fracture pattern
Figure 31: Possible perimortem fractured pattern on an unidentified bone [MA6491]

The jagged edge of this bone indicated that the fracture likely occurred when the bone was still 'fresh'. The lack of any bone reaction (attempted healing) further suggests a perimortem fracture, meaning the fracture probably occurred at or around the time of death. Fresh or living bone (of this type) generally fractures with large, straight edges, similar to cracking. Aged bone, in contrast, often breaks with small, irregular fracture patterns because the bulk of the organic component of the bone is no longer present. The consistent colouring and smoothed edges of this fracture indicate it was exposed to the fine abrasion of sand and reef debris, and was not fractured during recent excavation.

Finally, the nasal bones of the complete skull belonging to Harry could have been broken some time prior to death. This may explain why Harry appears to have an abnormally shaped nasal aperture. It is the authors' opinion that an antemortem fracture of the nasal bones, due to trauma, is unlikely for the reasons outlined previously.


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Last updated: Thu Mar 28 2002