Inorganic analysis of excavated human bone after surface removal

Joseph B. Lambert, Liang Xue, Jane E. Buikstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In order to decrease the effects of contamination during burial, we have removed about 1 mm from the surfaces of 50 human femurs from the Gibson (Middle Woodland), Ledders (Late Woodland), and Helton (Emergent Mississippian) sites. Elemental analysis of these abraded samples was compared with analysis of unabraded samples from the same femurs. Surface removal reduced levels of contaminative elements such as Fe, Al, and Mn but had little or no effect on Ca, Sr, and Ba. Analysis of variance was altered by cleaning. Many apparent differences between the sexes disappeared and must have been due to differential contamination. Other differences based on sex, age, site, or time are retained, improved, or initially uncovered by surface cleaning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-383
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Anova
  • Diagenesis
  • Trace elements
  • Woodland sites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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