Intentional or incidental thermal modification? Analysing site occupation via burned bone

Date

2009

Authors

Asmussen, Brit

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Elsevier

Abstract

Although there has been extensive experimental research on the thermal modification of bone, the results have rarely been applied to interpret zooarchaeological assemblages. The faunal assemblage from Wanderer's Cave, Australia was analysed to investigate the origins, timing and context in which faunal specimens became burned during the mid-late Holocene occupation of the site. Statistical analyses of uniformity of burning, burning over fracture surfaces and epiphyses, frequency of carbonisation by prey taxa, and thermal modification of canid modified specimens indicate that the majority of faunal specimens were unintentionally modified when on the surface of the deposit or while buried in sediment when fires were lit at subsequent site occupation events. Thermal modification at the site does not reflect intentional cooking activities. Significant preservation biases were identified from the lower acidic levels of the site, preventing knowledge of the early fire history at Wanderer's Cave.

Description

Keywords

Keywords: bone; fauna; Holocene; preservation; taphonomy; Australasia; Australia; Canidae Australia; Burned bones; Cooking; Differential preservation; Taphonomy

Citation

Source

Journal of Archaeological Science

Type

Journal article

Book Title

Entity type

Access Statement

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DOI

10.1016/j.jas.2008.10.005

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