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Osteoware: Standardized Skeletal Documentation Software

Osteoware: Standardized Skeletal Documentation Software

changes to entire skeleton vs. selected aspects

So the taphonomy module appears to record taph changes for the entire skeleton, unless you specify in the comments section to what it refers.  The skeletal material I am working with has a large amount of variation within the same skeleton, often side to side or element to element changes.  Is there any way to account for this other than just thick description in the comments section?




DUDARC's picture
Submitted by DUDARC on

Good question Stuart,

The check boxes in the module are meant to reflect alterations to the whole skeleton; however, for example, the whole skeleton does not have to be stained green by copper to check that observation box.  The check boxes are an aid to quickly query the database to find catalog/burial numbers with alterations such as cutmarks or copper staining, and the comments entered are where the real taphonomic documentation takes place.

Taphonomic changes are qualitative for the most part, and so do not fit easily into a quantitative evaluation structure.  As you have mentioned, there can be a lot of variation within a skeleton, let alone a single bone, and this module can never cover all of the potential taphonomic changes that might occur.

At this time "thick description" in the comments field is the best approach to documenting complex taphonomy, but we would certainly be interested in hearing about suggested improvements!