Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Taphonomy, Regional

  • Luis Alberto Borrero
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_832


Taphonomy is a discipline common to many fields, like paleontology, geology, paleoecology, or archaeology. Its basic goal is to understand the transition of organic materials, for example, bones or soft tissues, from the biosphere to the lithosphere (Lyman 1994). Taphonomic information is routinely used by archaeologists to assess the quality of archaeological data, to evaluate the loss of cultural and ecological information, to pursue paleobiological questions, and sometimes also to acquire paleoecological information (Gifford 1981; Behrensmeyer 1993; Lyman 1994; Marean 1995). In other words, the conditions which are adequate for the formation of fossils are a central concern of taphonomy. Archaeological applications are usually focused on the preservation of bones, but they also cover cases involving transformations of lithic tools, pottery, or other kinds of materials. In most cases local scales of analysis are used – usually, the site – and indeed those scales are...

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CONICET-IMHICIHUBuenos AiresArgentina