Preservation of Faunal Remains from an Underwater Cavern, Padre Nuestro, Dominican Republic

Author(s): Jenny Riley; Kevin Hunt

Year: 2015


Between 2005 and 2010, Indiana University dive teams performed surface collections of the entrance chamber to Padre Nuestro Cavern, a submerged limestone cavern located in the East National Park in the southeastern peninsula of the Dominican Republic. They extracted Taino ceramics, Casimiroid lithics, and many faunal remains including two extinct sloth species (Acrotocnus ye and Parocnus serus), an extinct platyrrhine monkey (Antillothris bernensis), and other commingled bones including sloth, bird, bat, fish, rodent, and insectivore. The faunal remains were sent to the Human Origins and Primate Evolution Laboratory at Indiana University for preservation. Water can have a negative impact on the preservation of bone, sometimes causing cracking and flaking. This poster details the preservation process applied to the monkey specimen along with the commingled remains. The specimens were immersed in distilled water for 30 days, changing the water every 10 days, in order to dissolve impurities within the bones. The next stage involved submerging the bones in increasingly concentrated solutions (10%, 20%, and 50%) of polyethylene glycol (PEG) 4000 over a period of 30 days. They were then allowed to dry. Overall, the process proved successful in stopping or slowing down the deterioration of the bone.

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Cite this Record

Preservation of Faunal Remains from an Underwater Cavern, Padre Nuestro, Dominican Republic. Jenny Riley, Kevin Hunt. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398389)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;