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Northeast Historical Archaeology

Abstract

This paper reports on a study of human bone taphonomy at two historic period cemeteries in northern Rhode Island. The analyses demonstrate that various local factors contributed to the degradation of human bone at the two cemeteries under investigation. Factors investigated as part of this study include soil pH, soil texture, time elapsed since burial, and the age of the deceased at the time of death. The . study concludes that soil texture and soil permeability were more correlated with bone deterioration at the two historic cemeteries than soil acidity, which is commonly assumed to cause rapid bone deterioration in southern New England soils.

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