Chemical Diagenesis of Charcoal and Charred Organic Material in South African Middle Stone Age Rockshelter Sites
This is an abstract from the "Charred Organic Matter in the Archaeological Sedimentary Record" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
Several South African Middle Stone Age (MSA) sites contain deposits rich in anthropogenic materials whose preservation was impacted by extreme burial environments. The specific chemistries of the burial environments are evidenced by dissolution of archaeological materials and/or precipitation of secondary minerals. In sites such as Elands Bay Cave and Klasies River Mouth, charcoal and fragments of charred organic materials also appear to undergo structural changes and in some cases are partially or fully replaced by secondary carbonate and phosphate minerals. These changes have been identified in microscopic remains present in micromorphological samples using organic petrology, micro-FTIR, micro-XRD and micro-XRF. The chemical diagenesis has negatively impacted the recovery of organic materials using traditional methods (e.g. flotation, sieving), yet the microcontextual analyses reveal a rich organic record at these sites.
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Chemical Diagenesis of Charcoal and Charred Organic Material in South African Middle Stone Age Rockshelter Sites. Susan Mentzer, Bertrand Ligouis, Christoph Berthold, Christopher Miller, Sarah Wurz. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452506)
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min long: 9.58; min lat: -35.461 ; max long: 57.041; max lat: 4.565 ;
Abstract Id(s): 25933