Tales From The Crypt Taphonomic Processes on  Human Bone Michael Cursio Necropolis Session 9 2010
What is Taphonomy? <ul><li>“ A field of paleontology, paleo-anthropology, and bioarcheology that studies human and animal ...
<ul><li>Antemortem </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Before Death”-refers to anomalies inflicted on bone well before time of dea...
Agents of Taphonomy
Human Decomposition <ul><li>Rate highly dependant on surrounding conditions-dry v.s humid, exposed v.s covered </li></ul><...
Relevance to the Sanisera Necropolis <ul><li>All of our finds are post-mortem </li></ul><ul><li>Tombs and burials-less exp...
Examples:    Fracturing Antemortem   v.s   Postmortem
Examples:  Rodent Gnawing
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Sanisera Field School, session 9, 2010: Taphonomy, by Mike Cursio

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Sanisera Field School, session 9, 2010: Taphonomy, by Mike Cursio

  1. 1. Tales From The Crypt Taphonomic Processes on Human Bone Michael Cursio Necropolis Session 9 2010
  2. 2. What is Taphonomy? <ul><li>“ A field of paleontology, paleo-anthropology, and bioarcheology that studies human and animal remains in relation to the post-mortem (after death) transformations that occur in burial sites. In a broader sense, taphonomy is the study of the processes that leads to fossilization, as well as the stages of transformation of remains through the action of environmental factors” </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Antemortem </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Before Death”-refers to anomalies inflicted on bone well before time of death </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Perimortem </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Near Death”-refers to anomalies inflicted on bone just before or just after time of death </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Postmortem </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ After Death”-refers to anomalies inflicted on bone long after time of death </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Agents of Taphonomy
  5. 5. Human Decomposition <ul><li>Rate highly dependant on surrounding conditions-dry v.s humid, exposed v.s covered </li></ul><ul><li>Putrefaction-body’s bacteria begins to break down cellular tissue, gas build up, green colour, “slippage” </li></ul><ul><li>~20 days after death body begins to turn dark, gas is expelled, formation of adipocere </li></ul><ul><li>Mummification and skeletonization-longest period of decomposition, more dependant on soil pH </li></ul>
  6. 6. Relevance to the Sanisera Necropolis <ul><li>All of our finds are post-mortem </li></ul><ul><li>Tombs and burials-less exposure, contained context </li></ul><ul><li>Scavenging? Insect Activity? </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple burials/grave robbing </li></ul><ul><li>What can be understood about the lives of the interred? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Examples: Fracturing Antemortem v.s Postmortem
  8. 8. Examples: Rodent Gnawing

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