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Conservation Recommendations for Human Skeletal Remains Excavated from Desert Oases, Cave Shelters, and Permafrost, in China and Mongolia

Author(s): Christine Lee

Year: 2017

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Summary

Tomb excavations have been documented in East Asia for over 100 years, however the focus has been on artifact collection. The systematic excavation and collection of human skeletal remains is new to this region. This study will outline three cases where there was a demonstrated need for the implementation of conservation techniques. The first case included several naturally mummified skulls from Xinjiang, Province, China. A graduate student had decided to wash the skulls to remove skin and hair. A month later white crystals were seen growing out of the skulls. The second case involved four naturally mummified cave burials from southwestern Mongolia. Once removed from the dry environment, they began to decompose again. The last case was excavated from permafrost in northern Mongolia. After the tombs were opened, it began to rain inside from the melting ice. The skeletons were bagged in plastic and stored in cardboard boxes for a year before the author examined them. When examined all of the bones were coated in white mold. This study will give recommendations for the treatment and storage in these particular cases.


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Cite this Record

Conservation Recommendations for Human Skeletal Remains Excavated from Desert Oases, Cave Shelters, and Permafrost, in China and Mongolia. Christine Lee. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431462)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia


Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16754

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America