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Apatite for destruction: Investigating bone degradation due to high acidity at Star Carr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Published copy (DOI)



Publication details

JournalJournal of archaeological science
DatePublished - 1 Jul 2015
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)159-168
Original languageEnglish


In order to more fully understand the effects of high acidity on bone at the Mesolithic site of Star Carr, a suite of analytical techniques has been used to assess the effects on the inorganic and organic fractions of treating a range of bone types in different strength sulfuric acid solutions. These include mass loss analysis, scanning electron microscopy, chiral amino acid analysis, and powder X-ray diffraction. Loss of bone mineral is shown to be severely accelerated at low pH and this ultimately leads to increased breakdown of the bone collagen. Archaeological samples are significantly more at risk than modern samples. Reaching an understanding of the effects of increased acidity on organic artefacts through studies such as this has important applications in determining the future management not only of Star Carr, but other sites with similar chemical environments.

    Research areas

  • Acidity, Amino acid racemization, Bone, Diagenesis, Powder X-ray diffraction, SEM, Star Carr


  • The impact of research at Star Carr


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