A post mortem examination of human remains found buried on land in Barnsley was carried out yesterday.
Detectives hope the examination of the skull and bones, found on land off Mitchell Street, in the Swaithe area of the town, will help them piece together the circumstances surrounding the death.
A forensic archaeologist established that the remains were human and those of a man and that they could have been buried for around 20 years.
Detectives are now trying to establish how the man died and who he is.
They are checking missing person databases and hope DNA extracted from the bones could help identify the man.
Among the men reported missing in South Yorkshire over the last two decades is murder victim Thomas Groome, 53, whose body was never found.
Jason Thaxter, 39, of Hexthorpe, Doncaster, was jailed for a minimum of 30 years in 2016 after being found guilty of murder despite Mr Groome's body never being located.
His mother, June Buttle, also from Doncaster, was jailed for 16 years after she pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Buttle claimed during her trial that a man, who she said was a stranger, helped her kill Groome.
She said he was wrapped in a carpet and the stranger chopped him into pieces, burnt him at the bottom of her garden and told her he would dispose of the remains.
Mr Groome was last seen on New Year’s Day in 2010 as he left his son’s home in Thorne.
The motivation for his murder is said to have been a 150,000 Euro compensation pay-out he received for abuse he suffered as a child in an Irish care home.
Another missing man on police records is Edmund Spencer, known to his friends as Neil and who has not been seen since Janaury 2001.
The 38-year-old was last seen in the Goldthorpe area and his car, a metallic yellow Fiat Punto, was later found abandoned at the Tesco car park in Stairfoot, Barnsley.