Want to learn something about taphonomy?

A couple of years ago I wrote a paper as part of the requirements for my PhD. That paper discusses the importance of taking taphonomy into account when studying human remains from an archaeological context. I have made some changes to the original paper and changed it into an article format, but as this article is not likely to be published, I’ve decided to make it available on this blog.

If you’re not sure what taphonomy is, here’s the definition used in this paper: “Taphonomy was first described as an own field of study by Efremov in 1940 and was defined as “the science of the laws of embedding” and referred to the study of what happens to an organism from death to fossilisation. In the strictest sense of the word, taphonomy is thus devoted to the analysis of post-mortem processes affecting organic remains, but in archaeological terms the definition has been extended to include, not only living organisms, but all materials and can be said to be the study of the transformation of materials into the archaeological record (Bahn, 1992:489).”

The discussion in this is article is entirely concerned with the taphonomy affecting the human body and skeleton.

If you’re interested, enjoy.

Use this link to download the article: Osteo- and funerary archaeology The influence of taphonomy – For blog


2 Responses to “Want to learn something about taphonomy?”

  1. Darren Mann Says:

    An interesting topic and article. As you have pointed out, a lack of those precious commodities time and funding is a major factor in some of the problems you detailed, and a factor that will likely remain difficult to overcome for the foreseeable future. In regards to the situation with field examination, high-definition digital photography and video, as well as some of the possibilities provided by real-time internet communication and portable devices, could offer a way of (at least partially) circumventing the difficulty (both financially and in availability of individuals with the appropriate expertise) of having a trained physical anthropologist at all excavations.

  2. ข้อสอบข้อเขียนbjm Says:

    Awesome! Its really amazing piece of writing, I have got much
    clear idea regarding from this piece of writing.

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Immigration and mobility in mediaeval and post-mediaeval Norway
Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion, University of Bergen
E-mail: stian.hamre@ahkr.uib.no

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