Title

Diagenesis in Prehistoric Caves: the Use of Minerals that Form In Situ to Assess the Completeness of the Archaeological Record

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Publisher

Elsevier

Publication Date

October 2000

Abstract

An interpretation of the archaeological record, in particular that of a prehistoric cave site, is complicated by the diversity of depositional and post-depositional processes that affect the material deposited. Here we propose to use the authigenic minerals that form in situ within the cave sediments to reconstruct the ancient chemical environments in the sediments. This can be done by experimentally determining the conditions under which each of the authigenic minerals are stable. Although this information is not available to date for minerals formed in a prehistoric cave, we present calculated stability field data for the relevant minerals. The results clearly demonstrate the feasibility of this approach. This information, particularly if based on measurements of real authigenic cave minerals, will facilitate an assessment of the completeness of the cave archaeological record. This is particularly important for determining whether or not the distributions of archaeologically important materials, such as bones, teeth, plant phytoliths, charcoal and ash, reflect their original burial distributions or were altered as a result of secondary diagenetic processes.

Notes

Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 27, no. 10 (2000-10-01).

Keywords

Cave Sediments, Diagenesis, Phosphate Minerals, Ash

Description

RDA

Subject: topical

Cave Sediments; Diagenesis; Phosphate Minerals; Ash

Type

Article

Genre

serial

Identifier

SFS0071958_00001

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