A multi-modal digital analysis of a mesolithic clavicle : preserving and studying the oldest human bone in Brittany

Abstract : The oldest human bone of Brittany was dug up from the mesolithic shell midden of Beg-er-Vil in Quiberon and dated about Ca 8200 years. The low acid soils of these dump area represent exceptional sedimentary conditions. For these reasons, but also because these bones have a very particular patrimonial and symbolic value, their study goes altogether with concerns of conservation and museographic presentation. The clavicle is constituted of two pieces discovered separately at a one meter distance from each other. The two pieces match, so it can be assemble in a single fragment of approximately 7 centimeters. Cut-marks are clearly visible on the surface of these bones. They are bound to post-mortem processing which it is necessary to better qualify. The clavicle was studied through a process that combines advanced 3D image acquisition, 3D processing, and 3D printing with the goal to provide relevant support for the experts involved in the work. The bones were first scanned with a CT scan, and digitized with photogrammetry in order to get a high quality textured model. The CT scan appeared to be insufficient for a detailed analysis; the study was thus completed with a µCT providing a very accurate 3D model of the bone. Several 3D-printed copies of the collarbone were produced in order to constitute tangible support easy to annotate for sharing between the experts involved in the study. The 3D models generated from µCT and photogrammetry, were combined to provide an accurate and detailed 3D model. This model was used to study desquamation and the different cut marks. These cut marks were also studied with traditional binoculars and digital microscopy. This last technique allowed characterizing the cut marks, revealing a probable meat cutting process with a flint tool. This work of crossed analyses allows us to document a fundamental patrimonial piece, and to ensure its preservation. Copies are also available for the regional museums.
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Contributor : Valérie Gouranton <>
Submitted on : Friday, December 8, 2017 - 9:00:10 PM
Last modification on : Monday, May 6, 2019 - 12:06:54 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-01659855, version 1


Jean-Baptiste Barreau, Adeline Gagnier, Ronan Gaugne, Grégor Marchand, Jorge Calvo Gómez, et al.. A multi-modal digital analysis of a mesolithic clavicle : preserving and studying the oldest human bone in Brittany. 2017 - 3D Imaging in Cultural Heritage Conference, Nov 2017, London, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-01659855⟩



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