Taphonomy and Interpretation [Paperback]

Jacqueline Huntley (Author); Sue Stallibrass (Author)

ISBN: 9781842170045 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: Symposia of the Association for Environmental Archaeology | Volume: 14 | Year of Publication: 2000 | Language: English 120p,

Taphonomy and Interpretation


Papers from the 1993 Association for Environmental Archaeology conference at Durham. The themes of the conference were taphonomy and interpretation, to encourage spreakers to go beyond data acquisition and description. This volume looks at how material (pollen, insects, bones etc.) came to be deposited in the context from which they were recovered), how surviving material might compare with what existed in the past. Furthermore, how our methodologies can bias our results and how material might be interpreted in terms of past human activities and environmental processes. These themes are relevant to all archaeological and palaeo-ecological enquireies, regardless of the type of material studied. The archaeological periods studied range from the Bronze Age to the 19th century AD and include rural, urban and buiral sites. Several contributors recommend the use of multiple lines of enquiry as a means of counteracting the biases inherent in any one type approach or group of material. Several papers are concerned with the nature of of the recovered archaeological data, looking for patterns that might be interpretable in terms of past environments or taphonomic process.

Table of Contents

Interpreting prehistoric cultivation using the combined evience of plant remains and soils: an example from northern Scotland (Stephen P. Carter and Timothy G. Holden)
Palynological taphonomy in understanding vegetation history and human impact in the Lairg area, Sutherland (Melanie Smith)
Pollen preservation analysis as a necessity in Holocene palynology (Richard Tipping)
Dark earth and obscured stratigraphy (Elizabeth J. Sidell)
Through a taphonomic glass, darkly: the importance of cereal cultivation in prehistoric Britain (Peter Rowley-Conwy)
Otter (Lutra lutra L.) spraint: an investigation into possible sources of small fish bones at coastal archaeological sites (Rebecca A. Nicholson)
The butcher, the cook and the archaeologist (P. R. G. Stokes)
Detecting the nature of materials on farms from Coleoptera: a number of taphonomic problems (David N Smith)
Experimental taphonomy (Louise van Wijngaarden-Bakker)
Why did the chicken dig a hole? Some observations on the excavation of dust baths by domestic fowl and their implications for archaeology (Keith Dobney, Allan Hall and Michael Hill)
Arthropod remains as indicatiors for taphonomic processes: an assemblage from 19th century burials, Broerenkerk, Zwolle, the Netherlands (Tom Hakbijl)
Context level interpretation of animal bones through statistical analysis (Marta Moreno Garcia and James Rackham)
Towards describing the nature of the chief taphonomic agent (Bob Wilson)

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