Literature on luminescent properties of thermally altered human remains is scarce and contradictory. Therefore, the luminescence of heated bone was systemically reinvestigated. A heating experiment was conducted on fresh human bone, in two different media, and cremated human remains were recovered from a modern crematory. Luminescence was excited with light sources within the range of 350 to 560 nm. The excitation light was filtered out by using different long pass filters, and the luminescence was analysed by means of a scoring method. The results show that temperature, duration and surrounding medium determine the observed emission intensity and bandwidth. It is concluded that the luminescent characteristic of bone can be useful for identifying thermally altered human remains in a difficult context as well as yield information on the perimortem and postmortem events.