Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Taphonomy in Bioarchaeology and Human Osteology

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_137

Introduction

Classical Taphonomy

Traditionally, taphonomy was studied by paleontologists to interpret the processes that operate on organic remains that comprise a part of the fossil record. A major focus of taphonomy was to understand the effects of those processes in order to reconstruct the past as it pertains to a particular fossil assemblage (Shipman 1981). Years later, archaeologists began to study taphonomy in order to determine how and why floral and faunal remains accumulated and differentially preserved within the archaeological record. Interpretation of the postmortem, pre-, and post-burial histories of faunal assemblages is critical in determining their association with hominid activity and behavior. Archaeologists typically separate natural from cultural processes when identifying evidence of human interaction with faunal remains (Lyman 1994).

Various models of fossil assemblage formation have been proposed, depicting a general taphonomic history. The taphonomic history...

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References

  1. Allison, P.A. & D.E.G. Briggs. 1991. Taphonomy: releasing the data locked in the fossil record. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  2. Allison, P.A. & D.J. Bottjer. 2010. Taphonomy: bias and process through time, in P.A. Allison & D.J. Bottjer (ed.) Taphonomy second edition: process and bias through time. Volume 32: topics in geobiology: 1-18. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  3. Behrensmeyer, A.K. 1978. Taphonomic and ecologic information from bone weathering. Paleobiology 4: 150-62.Google Scholar
  4. Behrensmeyer, A.K. & S.M. Kidwell. 1985. Taphonomy’s contribution to paleobiology. Paleobiology 11: 105-19.Google Scholar
  5. Behrensmeyer, A.K., D. Western & D.E. Dechant Boaz. 1979. New perspectives in vertebrate paleoecology from a recent bone assemblage. Paleobiology 5: 12-21.Google Scholar
  6. Bonnichsen, R. & M.H. Sorg. 1989.Bone modification: Maine: Center for the Study of First Americans.Google Scholar
  7. Efremov, I.A. 1940. Taphonomy: a new branch of paleontology.Pan-American Geologist 74: 81-93.Google Scholar
  8. Haglund, W.D. & M.H. Sorg. 1997. Introduction to forensic taphonomy, in W.D. Haglund & M.H. Sorg (ed.) Forensic taphonomy: the postmortem fate of human remains: 77-90. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  9. Lyman, R.L. 1994. Vertebrate taphonomy (Cambridge Manuals in Archaeology series). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Marshall, L.G. 1989. Bone modification and “the laws of burial”, in R. Bonnichsen & M.H. Sorg (ed.) Bone modification: 7-24. Maine: Center for the Study of First Americans.Google Scholar
  11. Martin, R.E. 1999. Taphonomy: a process approach (Cambridge Paleobiology series). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Micozzi, M.S. 1991. Postmortem change in human and animal remains: a systematic approach. Springfield: Charles C. Thomas.Google Scholar
  13. Olson, E.C. 1980. Taphonomy: its history and role in community evolution, in A.K. Behrensmeyer & A.P. Hill (ed.) Fossils in the making: vertebrate taphonomy and paleoecology: 5-19. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  14. Shipman, P. 1981.Life history of a fossil: an introduction to taphonomy and paleoecology. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
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Further Reading

  1. Behrensmeyer, A.K. & A.P. Hill. 1980. Fossils in the making: vertebrate taphonomy and paleoecology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Donovan, S.K. 1991. The process of fossilization. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Gifford, D.P. 1981. Taphonomy and paleoecology: a critical review of archaeology’s sister discipline, in M.B. Schiffer (ed.) Advances in archaeological method and theory, Volume 4: 365-438. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  4. Haglund, W.D. & M.H. Sorg. 1997. Advances in forensic taphonomy: method, theory, and archaeological perspectives. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  5. Tibbett, M. & D.O. Carter. 2008. Soil analysis in forensic taphonomy: chemical and biological effects of buried human remains. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Forensic ScienceUniversity of Technology, SydneyBroadwayAustralia