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Post-depositional alterations across varying sediment types from archaeological inhumation burials - a geoarchaeological approach

Burns, Annika (2015) Post-depositional alterations across varying sediment types from archaeological inhumation burials - a geoarchaeological approach. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

The relationships between inhumation burial and the surrounding sediment in archaeological graves were investigated through micromorphology. Samples were collected from four archaeological sites (Hofstaðir, Al Khiday, Tel Qarassa and Sala Vastmaal) of varying sediment types and an experimental pig burial in a sandy sediment (UK). Micromorphological analyses from burial sediments at Hofstaðir (Iceland) combined with results from organic geochemical analyses demonstrate complementarity of the two approaches for interpretation of the fate of the buried remains. Micromorphological observations from a single sample block vary between multiple thin sections oriented perpendicular or tangential to the remains, reflecting differences in these sediments at the centimetre to millimetre scale. Mineral weathering pathways differ between grave sediments and controls and at some sites mineral weathering was significantly accelerated in grave sediments. Results suggest that thin section analysis of post-depositional sediment processes and activities of detrital populations affecting sediment minerals could be used as trace proxy evidence of past inhumation burials. Such mineralogical changes may persist in grave sediments beyond the limits of identification by direct evidence of organic materials and skeletal remains.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Archaeology (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.685266
Depositing User: Ms Annika Burns
Date Deposited: 19 May 2016 14:08
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:34
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13152

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