White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

DECOMPOSITION OF ORGANIC MATERIALS WITHIN BURIAL ENVIRONMENTS

Pinder, Adam (2016) DECOMPOSITION OF ORGANIC MATERIALS WITHIN BURIAL ENVIRONMENTS. PhD thesis, University of York.

[img] Text
Adam Pinder - PhD thesis - York, 2016.pdf - Examined Thesis (PDF)
Restricted until 22 May 2022.

Request a copy

Abstract

The funerary practices of many past cultures in Northwestern Europe involve the burial of the deceased in clothing and in wooden coffins. Although objects made from wood, textiles and leather that exhibit exceptional levels of preservation, or that hold great significance, are commonly analysed by a wide range of analytical techniques, fragments of degraded coffin wood and funerary clothing materials have not, to date, been chemically analysed. This material therefore represents a wealth of potential information that has yet to be investigated. By identifying and examining the preservation state of wood, textiles and leather placed in archaeological human burials, this research sought to explore the information that could be gained from analysing these degraded materials, and to develop an understanding of the long term decomposition trajectories of different archaeological materials buried in a range of burial environments. This analysis was complemented with data obtained from relatively shorter term burial experiments, aimed at investigating the short term diagenetic processes. A suite of appropriate analytical chemistry techniques were employed to assess the degradation that had occurred in wood, textiles and leather by comparison with undegraded modern analogues. Using this approach, it has been shown that by examining the component biopolymers, not only can their preservation state be assessed, but a greater depth of information regarding their provenance may be gained in comparison to traditional archaeological methods. The degradation modifications that have occurred within the burial environments were shown to be attributable to a range of fungal, microbial and chemical factors. The type and extent of the degradation allow conditions within the burial environments to be elucidated. These findings have potential implications for the understanding, interpretation and conservation of buried archaeological and forensic materials.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Chemistry (York)
Depositing User: Mr Adam Pinder
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2017 10:51
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 10:51
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/17404

Please use the 'Request a copy' link(s) above to request this thesis. This will be sent directly to someone who may authorise access.
You can contact us about this thesis. If you need to make a general enquiry, please see the Contact us page.

Actions (repository staff only: login required)