A Comparison of the Surface Variation of Burned and Weathered Bone

Author(s): Kyra Johnson; Emily Sponsel; Gilliane Monnier

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Burned and weathered bones play an important role in understanding the taphonomy and possible behavior of an archaeological site. The processes can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from one another due to the similarities in the overall degradation of the bone. This study attempts to further develop methods of quantifying surface texture variation in burned and weathered bones to understand how the processes compare to each other by using the average roughness parameter Ra. To do so, seven cow ribs were burned at 100°C increments from 100°C to 700°C for three hours and compared to 10 weathered bones selected from the University of Minnesota collections. Images of the bone surfaces were taken at 80x magnification using the Leica stereomicroscope at three points along the surface and 2.5mm long profiles were extracted from the images using the Mountains software. The resulting data were analyzed using univariate statistics such as ANOVA in order to assess differences in surface roughness across the specimens. These analyses reveal patterns of outer cortical surface degradation and overall depth averages. If expanded upon, this pilot study has the potential to be a useful supplementary tool in the identification of which process an archaeological skeletal element has undergone.

Cite this Record

A Comparison of the Surface Variation of Burned and Weathered Bone. Kyra Johnson, Emily Sponsel, Gilliane Monnier. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449660)

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Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24407