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Field Conservation of Skeletal Remains: Techniques, Materials, and Implications for Future Analysis

Author(s): Harriet "Rae" Beaubien

Year: 2017

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The information potential of skeletal remains – as for any excavated material – is impacted by the conditions of archaeological burial, and the environments and actions encountered during subsequent excavation, laboratory processing, study, and storage. A conservation approach emphasizes the mitigation of threats to material stability and integrity, which for excavated collections are often most critical at the point of archaeological exposure and recovery. Techniques and materials in use by conservators for stabilizing, lifting, and providing protective housings for skeletal remains in the field are discussed, using case examples primarily from terrestrial archaeological projects in Mesoamerica. Implications for the use of various modern synthetic consolidants and adhesives will be included, based on results of recent experimental work carried out at the Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute examining their effects on results of biomolecular instrumental analysis of skeletal material.

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Field Conservation of Skeletal Remains: Techniques, Materials, and Implications for Future Analysis. Harriet "Rae" Beaubien. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431465)



Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15212

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