Award Date

5-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Anthropology

Department

Anthropology

First Committee Member

Jennifer Thompson, Chair

Second Committee Member

Debra Martin

Third Committee Member

Peter Gray

Graduate Faculty Representative

Stephen Roberts

Number of Pages

156

Abstract

The present project analyzes the taphonomic processes and variables involved in the decomposition and desiccation of animal remains in an arid/hyper-arid environment. The study and the derived data will assist in determining postmortem intervals for remains in modern contexts, inform judgments made regarding mortuary habits and techniques in archaeological contexts, and will improve our knowledge regarding taphonomic processes. Manner of deposition, the depositional surface/medium and arid-climate specific variables (temperature, water, insect activity, weathering, pH levels, and soil characteristics) were examined in this study. Reported observations are limited to the first ten months following death from early December through early October in the northern Las Vegas valley area.

Keywords

Animal carcasses—Biodegradation; Forensic anthropology; Forensic entomology; Physical anthropology; Postmortem changes; Taphonomy

Disciplines

Anthropology | Biological and Physical Anthropology | Biology | Entomology

Language

English

Comments

Signatures have been redacted for privacy and security measures.


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