Effects of Varying Levels of Soil pH on the Preservation and Appearance of Chicken Bones

Author(s): Lucyna Bowland

Year: 2017


Past studies have noted the carnivore digestion process results in the enlargement of foramina and expansion of Haversian canals within the bones; however, it is not clearly known or taphonomically documented whether acid erosion from soil produces similar signatures.Although bones are oftentimes found within soil matrices, some at highly acidic levels, undoubtedly affecting the preservation and appearance of the remains, the effects are still poorly understood.Studies of erosion on bone mainly focus on gastric erosion from carnivore ingestion, but the effect of acidity from soil pH levels is still a poorly-studied area within archaeology. The present study aims to elucidate this process by examining the effects of erosion due to soil acidity in a controlled environment. Chicken bones (n=24) were placed in containers filled with soil, whose pH values ranged from 4.5-12.6 for five weeks. This study has far-reaching implications, expanding upon previous comparative work on taphonomic signatures from hominid-modified and gastrically-modified remains recovered from fossil assemblages. Results from this study indicate that soil acidity expanded the grooves for biceps brachii muscle attachment similar to previously observed expansion of foramina from effects of gastric erosion, highlighting the need for further research into this area of study.

Cite this Record

Effects of Varying Levels of Soil pH on the Preservation and Appearance of Chicken Bones. Lucyna Bowland. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429847)

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Erosion Taphonomy

Geographic Keywords
North America - Midwest

Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15610