Are you sure this isn't manganese staining? The possibly confusion
between blackening from burning and manganese staining is discussed in
Shahack-Gross R, Bar-Yosef O, and Weiner S (1997) Black-Coloured Bones in
Hayonim Cave, Israel: Differentiating Between Burning and Oxide Staining.
Journal of Archaeological Science 24:439-446.
On Thu, 27 Oct 2005, Curl, Julie wrote:
> Dear All,
> I have a complete articulated dog burial from the centre of Norwich, at least Medieval, probably earlier as it goes into natural soil. The odd thing about this burial is that a few of the bones have very slight burning - black to grey, more on the inside of the bones rather than the outside.
> Bones affected are small patches on the pelvis (edge of the acetabulum), the femur head, proximal end of just one proximal phalange, one scapula (burnt inside, not on the outside of the bone) and small areas of burning on one vertebrae and the sacrum.
> A bit more about the actual burial & the dog:
> A complete dog burial was found in the rectangular cut  that measured 0.9m x 0.42m and 0.12m deep with near vertical sides and a flat base. The dog skeleton  was articulated and neatly lain on its side to fill the grave. The grave was aligned north-east to south-west with the head at the south-west end. The dog (Border Collie sized) is very old, extremely worn teeth (those that haven't been lost due to wear and infection) and arthritis on a couple of areas of the spine.
> The rest of the dog shows no burning at all and there were no burnt soils or charcoal in the fill or cut and there is no disturbance to the dog at all - it is as it was buried.
> Has anyone seen this type of burning before on either human or animal skeletons? Does anyone have any ideas as to why a few small areas of bone could be burnt?
> Spontaneous doggy-combustion?! Lightening strike?
Dr. Andrew Millard [log in to unmask]
Department of Archaeology, University of Durham, Tel: +44 191 334 1147
South Road, Durham. DH1 3LE. United Kingdom. Fax: +44 191 334 1101