Analysis Of Diagenesis Encodes Information Regarding The Physical And Chemical Processes

1477 Words Sep 13th, 2014 6 Pages
The process of diagenesis encodes information regarding the physical and chemical processes operating in nature, which precedes the taphonomical journey of a bone into the lithosphere. When decoded, a fossil or an archaeological bone entails a series of natural processes of modification that perhaps decided the ‘destiny’ of a bone to transform into a fossil over the years of its residence into the sedimentary environment. Understanding these processes involved in the bone diagenesis is crucial to the reconstruction of ecological settings of an area(cite the papers on bone diagenesis and process of fossilization e.g. papers in “Archaeometry 2002 issue on bone diagenesis and also the proceesings of the Conference on “Bone Diagenesis” held in Germany in the year 2009).

When a bone is no longer a part of a living organism, the fat deteriorates very fast. After it gets buried in the sediment, the protein deteriorates by nitrogen discharge, and the OH ⁻ of the hydroxyapatite is replaced by the F ⁻, and forms fluorapatite, which however does not change the weight of the bone. Many minerals like Si, Ca, Phosphate, Iron oxide, etc. get incorporated into the bone and that increases the weight of the bone, resulting in a much heavier fossilized remains. The physical, chemical and mineralogical properties of soil often determine the process of bone fossilization (Riche 1999). However, apart from the soil properties, other factors, such as ground water composition, ground water…
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