Bones Wearing Bow Ties: Differential Preservation in Funerary Taphonomy

Author(s): Joanna K. Suckling

Year: 2017


The skeletal remains excavated from Scott Cemetery were well preserved while, in contrast, coffin and textile remains were generally poorly preserved. A soil pH test was conducted, with the sandy soil being an alkaline 7.8. The well preserved bone, adipocere formation, and poor textile preservation reflect established literature on the effects of alkaline soils. Burials with a high degree of roots, likely from remains of a tree that had grown through the grave shafts, were less preserved than burials without roots. This serves as an example of acidic roots and bioturbation affecting bone integrity. Differential preservation was observed under the 19th century coffin glass, with more adipocere formation and surviving textile remains. As the application of basic taphonomic analysis at Scott Cemetery will demonstrate, an understanding of taphonomic processes can answer archaeological questions about the integrity of sites and provide insight into how funerary practices can affect preservation.

Cite this Record

Bones Wearing Bow Ties: Differential Preservation in Funerary Taphonomy. Joanna K. Suckling. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435601)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 373