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Multifactorial approach to describe early diagenesis of bones: The case study of the Merovingian Cemetery of Saint-Linaire (France)

Maurer, Anne-France; Zeitoun, Valéry; Bardi, Jérémie; Millard, Andrew R; Ségalen, Loic; Guérin, Frédéric; Saliège, Jean-François; Person, Alain

Multifactorial approach to describe early diagenesis of bones: The case study of the Merovingian Cemetery of Saint-Linaire (France) Thumbnail


Authors

Anne-France Maurer

Valéry Zeitoun

Jérémie Bardi

Loic Ségalen

Frédéric Guérin

Jean-François Saliège

Alain Person



Abstract

The excavation of the Merovingian cemetery of Saint-Linaire (France) was an opportunity to describe the completeness of the tombs preserved from soil erosion. An anthropobiological study was carried out on the osteological material and the different categories of graves. On the basis of a complete archaeo-anthropological corpus we have undertaken an analysis of the differential preservation of the bones according to the different archaeobiological parameters such as the type of bone, the individual age but also the type of grave such as earthen graves, coffin, or sarcophagus. In order to establish whether and how funerary practices had impacted the early diagenesis of the bones, FTIR was used to investigate the carbonate and fluoride content of the bones, and the infra-red splitting factor (SF), while XRD analysis was performed to estimate the crystallinity index (CI). In addition, the micro, macro and total porosity of the bones were measured by water adsorption, and bone carbon and nitrogen amounts were obtained by EA IRMS. These diagenetic variables were analysed with regards to environmental (grave filling: humus, calcareous, clay), cultural (type of grave) and biological (mature versus immature individuals) factors. While there is a tendency of a better preservation of the skeletons in humus, and of juvenile bones to show less post-mortem alteration than the adult skeletons, the most important factor which determines the fate of the skeleton is the type of bone, with a preferential preservation of the ribs at Saint-Linaire.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 10, 2023
Online Publication Date Mar 24, 2023
Publication Date Jun 30, 2023
Deposit Date Mar 10, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 24, 2023
Journal Quaternary International
Print ISSN 1040-6182
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2023.03.003
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1177343

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