Pathology and taphonomy are two sides to a coin. While pathology may help to determine a cause of death, taphonomy helps to determine what happened to remains at or after death. In other words, in order to accurately assess a cause of death, you must be able to decipher which skeletal manifestations happened prior to death, and which happened after death. Obviously, a bone broken by a growing tree root will have vastly different implications than a bone broken just before death. There are several different forces (but not all) that result in taphonomic damage:
Animals can have little to profound impact on remains, leaving behind signals that can aid in everything from identifying the burial location, type of animal responsible for the activity, and even the season within which the remains were deposited.
Identifying burial processes can be used to determine the length of burial, and help determine between antimortem pathologies, perimortem injuries, and postmortem damages.
Burning uses a unique signature that is easily identified with a bit of practice. Fire damage is one of the less common thaphonomic signatures found in burial sites, though it may be useful in determining between accidental fires and arson.
Unusual coloring left on remains can be used to identify materials included in a burial, from from man-made metals to natural organic compounds.
Weathering and erosion are natural forces that can alter the general look of bone, as well has help to identify burial process or lack thereof.