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ZOOARCH  June 2012

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Subject:

Re: help with modified bone

From:

Richard Wright <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Richard Wright <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 5 Jun 2012 06:59:03 +1000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Lucretia

The acetic acid in vinegar would not produce the desired result.

In fact acetic acid has for long been used to extract bones from a 
matrix of calcium carbonate, because it does not dissolve the major 
mineral component of bone - calcium phosphate.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2151-6952.1959.tb00514.x/abstract

It would have to be a mineral acid - and the acid that would dissolve 
the mineral component but leave the collagen intact is nitric acid.

Richard



On 4/06/2012 23:39, Lucretia S. Kelly, Ph.D. wrote:
> Richard and other Zooarchs,
>     Unfortunately I didn't get many responses other than the modified bone
> is weird.
> [http://zooarchaeology.ning.com/photo/photo/listForContributor?screenName=36a31yu12ezfl]
>   The one scenario that makes some sense to me is that the bone was
> soaked in vinegar or a vinegar solution that rendered it pliable enough
> to be rolled or folded. I have heard that this can be done with chicken
> bones, but have no knowledge of it with thicker mammal bones. It
> appears the occupants of the site were pickling pigs feet so they many
> have been familiar with how brining affects bones and this may be a
> by-product of that process. I received no thoughts on for what purpose
> the bone may have been used. I think I see some experimentation in my
> future to see if this can be accomplished with vinegar and, if so, how
> long it would take for the bone to become pliable.
>      I am open to other possibilities.
> Lucretia
>
> Lucretia S. Kelly, Ph.D.
> Research Associate
> Dept. of Anthropology
> Washington University-St. Louis
> [log in to unmask]
> cell phone: 618-550-9312
> home phone: 618-281-5369
>
>> Lucretia
>>
>> I find the specimen remarkable, having never seen anything like it.
>>
>> Thinking aloud, one can assume the distorting effect could only be
>> achieved in a bone that had a high collagen to mineral ratio.
>>
>> If that assumption is correct, then two explanations can be considered.
>>
>> 1. The bone is from a fetus or neonate, where mineralization of the bone
>> is low. Perhaps cooking distorted the bone, but then one would have to
>> ask why such cases are not more common.
>>
>> 2. A more mature bone was partially demineralized with dilute nitric
>> acid. If totally demineralized then it would have perished in the ground.
>>
>> It would be good if you ultimately gave us a summary of suggestions that
>> come to you off list.
>>
>> Richard Wright
>>
>> On 2/06/2012 03:21, Lucretia S. Kelly, Ph.D. wrote:
>>> Dear ZOOARCH members,
>>>
>>> I have a type of modified bone from an historic site (mid 1800s) in
>>> Southern Illinois, USA that I have never seen before and wonder if
>>> anyone
>>> has seen something like this. It is a mammal bone (possible pig since
>>> the
>>> site has many pig bones) that has been cut lengthwise and on the ends,
>>> then rolled or folded over on itself. I would like to know how this
>>> could
>>> be accomplished and what type of artifact this may have been. I have
>>> uploaded pictures to ZooBook:
>>>    http://zooarchaeology.ning.com/photo/photo/listForContributor?screenName=36a31yu12ezfl.
>>> Thanks much.
>>>
>>>
>>> Lucretia S. Kelly, Ph.D.
>>> Research Associate
>>> Dept. of Anthropology
>>> Washington University-St. Louis
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> cell phone: 618-550-9312
>>> home phone: 618-281-5369
>>>

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