Title

Comparative Morphological Analysis of Calcined Bone

Presenter Information

David Davis
James Brown

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom B/C/D

Start Date

21-5-2015

End Date

21-5-2015

Keywords

Zooarchaeology, Calcined Bone, Artiodactyl

Abstract

Along the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America, faunal remains are rarely preserved within archaeological contexts,outside of coastal sites with shell middens. This is primarily due to the degradation of bone by humic acids in the soils (pH 4.5-5.5) and carbonic acids caused by heavy precipitation. Preserved bones in archaeological contexts in this region are typically highly burned, or calcined. Calcined bone is known to entail a size reduction compared to unburned bone, but the nature of the reduction is unknown. The question this project seeks to answer is: Does calcining cause significant change in bone size and weight? Consequently, this experiment documents the amount of change observed in artiodactyl phalanges (i.e., elk and black-tailed deer) by calcining, either via heating in a semi-temperature-controlled outdoor wood fire, and/or by heating in a completely temperature-controlled indoor muffle furnace. Twelve separate variables were measured before and after burning on the first phalanx and second phalanx specimens. Eight distinct variables were recorded on the third phalanx specimens. In addition to 38.13 percent mean weight loss expected due to the loss of the organic component of the bone, several variables exhibit noteworthy change. The height in region of extensor process variable displays a mean reduction of 7.52 percent, and the breadth proximal variable showed 4.39 percent mean reduction. Bones burned in the muffle furnace had uniform color and burning stage and no fracture, while those burned in the outside fire had variable results for all of these attributes, including extensive fracturing.

Poster Number

46

Faculty Mentor(s)

Patrick Lubinski

Department/Program

Resource Management

Additional Mentoring Department

Anthropology & Museum Studies

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May 21st, 11:30 AM May 21st, 2:00 PM

Comparative Morphological Analysis of Calcined Bone

SURC Ballroom B/C/D

Along the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America, faunal remains are rarely preserved within archaeological contexts,outside of coastal sites with shell middens. This is primarily due to the degradation of bone by humic acids in the soils (pH 4.5-5.5) and carbonic acids caused by heavy precipitation. Preserved bones in archaeological contexts in this region are typically highly burned, or calcined. Calcined bone is known to entail a size reduction compared to unburned bone, but the nature of the reduction is unknown. The question this project seeks to answer is: Does calcining cause significant change in bone size and weight? Consequently, this experiment documents the amount of change observed in artiodactyl phalanges (i.e., elk and black-tailed deer) by calcining, either via heating in a semi-temperature-controlled outdoor wood fire, and/or by heating in a completely temperature-controlled indoor muffle furnace. Twelve separate variables were measured before and after burning on the first phalanx and second phalanx specimens. Eight distinct variables were recorded on the third phalanx specimens. In addition to 38.13 percent mean weight loss expected due to the loss of the organic component of the bone, several variables exhibit noteworthy change. The height in region of extensor process variable displays a mean reduction of 7.52 percent, and the breadth proximal variable showed 4.39 percent mean reduction. Bones burned in the muffle furnace had uniform color and burning stage and no fracture, while those burned in the outside fire had variable results for all of these attributes, including extensive fracturing.