Different types of milling equipment – such as oscillating ball mills, freezer mills, mortar and pestle – can be used to fragment ancient bone prior to DNA extraction. However, each of these tools is associated with practical drawbacks. Here, we present the design for a stainless-steel mortar and pestle, with a removable sleeve to contain bone material. The tool is easy to clean, practical and its simplicity allows university workshops equipped with a lathe, boring tools and a milling machine to make these components at local expense. This design allows for the efficient fragmentation of ancient bone and improves sample throughput. This design is recommended as a useful, economical addition to existing laboratory equipment for the handling of ancient bone.
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