Characterisation of microbial attack on archaeological bone.

M.M.E. Jans, M.J. Collins, H. Kars, C.M. Nielsen-Marsh, C.I. Smith

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    As part of an EU funded project to investigate the factors influencing bone preservation in the archaeological record, more than 250 bones from 41 archaeological sites in five countries spanning four climatic regions were studied for diagenetic alteration. Sites were selected to cover a range of environmental conditions and archaeological contexts. Microscopic and physical (mercury intrusion porosimetry) analyses of these bones revealed that the majority (68%) had suffered microbial attack. Furthermore, significant differences were found between animal and human bone in both the state of preservation and the type of microbial attack present. These differences in preservation might result from differences in early taphonomy of the bones. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)87-95
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


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