Recovery rates reflect the amount of recovered skeletal materials based on expectations about the total number of elements or individuals that should be present in an assemblage. It is an underlying concept that reflects analytical potential, wherein high recovery rates typically indicate high analytical capabilities. However, numerous methods are available to calculate different types of recovery rates, and each method addresses various types of research questions and utilizes different variables. Therefore, recovery rates cannot be applied and compared directly, and the appropriate recovery rate for any given research question must be considered thoughtfully.
Materials and Methods
Several methods of determining individual and element recovery rates are applied to the USS Oklahoma commingled human remains assemblage and discussed with regard to their utility.
Depending on which method is used, recovery rates range from 91 to 102% for the recovery of individuals and 0.02 to 91% for the recovery of elements within this assemblage.
These results emphasize the need to carefully consider which recovery rate is most appropriate based on associated research questions and project contexts. We introduce the idea of the analytical recovery rate, a flexible concept to determine the potential assessment of biological profile parameters once individuation of commingled remains has occurred, wherein elements are selected based on the needs of the project as well as element preservation.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.