Bone density and long bone representation in archaeological faunas

comparing results from CT and photon densitometry

Y. M. Lam, Xingbin Chen, Curtis Marean, Carol J. Frey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

97 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Research into animal bone density has provided the foundation for the assessment of post-depositional destruction of archaeological faunal assemblages. This paper presents bone mineral density values for caprid long bones as determined by computed tomography (CT). Unlike photon densitometry, the technique employed in previous archaeological studies of bone density, CT provides precise assessments of the cross-sectional area of scan sites. Researchers using photon densitometry have been unable to factor out the marrow cavity in their determination of cross-sectional area, thereby significantly underestimating the density of long bone shafts. The density values obtained by CT are much higher, particularly for middle shaft portions, than those presented in previous studies and are more consistent with existing data on the material properties of bone. For two archaeological faunal assemblages that have been subject to post-depositional attribution, the CT density values show a much stronger correlation with long bone portion survival than those provided by photon densitometry. Given such advantages over photon densitometry, CT is a promising method for future archaeological investigations into bone density.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-570
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume25
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1998
Externally publishedYes

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attribution
Values
animal
Computed Tomography
Fauna
Photon Densitometry
Bone Density
Archaeology
Faunal Assemblages
Archaeological Investigation
Material Properties
Marrow
Attribution
Destruction
Bone Mineral Density
Animal Bones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Archaeology

Cite this

Bone density and long bone representation in archaeological faunas : comparing results from CT and photon densitometry. / Lam, Y. M.; Chen, Xingbin; Marean, Curtis; Frey, Carol J.

In: Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 25, No. 6, 06.1998, p. 559-570.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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