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Skeleton 16 was also excavated in 2015 and had very a fragmentary skull which needed to be block lifted and then carefully excavated in the lab. Significant sections of this skull would crumble to dust if any attempt was made to remove it from the soil matrix that holds it together. Fortunately the 3d scan has preserved the morphology of key features such as the mastoid process, supraorbital ridge and occipital protuberance which all indicate that this individual was male.
As at most sites in Devon, the soil type at Ipplepen is fairly acidic. This isn’t great for bone preservation as bones and other organic materials usually deteriorate more quickly than in less acidic soils. Whilst many of the excavated skeletons at Ipplepen are very fragile, we were very lucky to have the level of preservation we did in comparison to other Devon sites, where very little organic material remains at all.