Studies on ancient cremation bones is presented in annual meeting of Indian Archaeological Society

Our work is posted in annual meeting of Indian Archaeological Society as poster presentation. The meeting was held in Varanasi, India (Dec 12-14, 2013). 

Before departure

Poster presentation


Below is the abstract for our presentation.....

Anthropological Study on the Cremated Bones of the Late Silla Kingdom Period 
in Korean History

Y.J. Kim / D.S. Lim / E.J. Woo / J.H. Bae / N.L. Lee, K. Hwangbo / C.S. Oh / Y.S. Kim / S.C. Cha / D.H. Shin

Cremation burial as practiced throughout many part of Asia disseminate from the recorded funeral of Sakyamuni, the founder of the religion. According to Mahaparinirvana Sutra, the ancient Indian Buddhist script that documents the final days of the Buddha, the founder’s body was cremated on a pyre along with various kinds of precious woods. His relics were collected after the cremation, to be enshrined inside stupa, his funerary mound. Archaeological evidence of this is rather blurring although many relic caskets and associated antiquities have been unearthed. Buddhist cremation rite originating in India, had been adopted by most of the East Asian peoples, and certainly, many high-ranking nobles, monks and commoners have been cremated over the course of Korea’s long history.

Anthropological studies on burnt bones can reveal patterns by which the nature of archaeological cremation cases can be hypothesized or determined. We note that there have been very few histological analyses performed on cremated bones obtained from archaeological sites in East Asia, even though funerary cremation has been practiced both widely in the region and down through the ages. In the present study, we therefore endeavored to isolate the heat-induced changes in Late Silla Kingdom bones (8th–9th century CE) that probably had been subjected to post-mortem cremation. Color changes in the bones showed that the cremation temperature might have reached a minimum 650–700°C. By scanning electron microscopy (SEM), we estimated that the temperature in one case (Gangneung) was about 800°C and in another (Pyeongtaek), possibly as high as 1000–1400°C. In this anthropological study, the histological nature of ancient cremated bones in Korea could be revealed for the first time ever by macro- and microscopic techniques.

*This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2013R1A1A2009688)


  1. This article is so good for online Prepaid Funeral Plans.Scenic Tombs in Asia is nice.


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