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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Fluorine dating of human bone at the pre-Columbian Maya cemetery of Caves Branch Rockshelter, Belize
by Isaacs, Morgan, M.A., The University of Mississippi, 2016, 98; 10247539
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis tests the ion-selective electrode fluorine dating method on the remains from the Maya mortuary site Caves Branch Rockshelter (CBR) in Belize. CBR is a cemetery containing at least 400 burials from the late Preclassic to the Postclassic periods. The intensive use and reuse of the site has disturbed the burial matrices, making it difficult to seriate the burials.

Fluorine dating analyzes the amount of fluorine that has accumulated in bone over time. In principle, an older burial will contain more fluorine from groundwater than a more recently buried bone; however, this principle must be tested at each site as fluorine absorption is affected by many environmental factors.

The results indicate fluorine dating is a viable method for seriating burials at CBR. However, comingling and poor preservation of the remains make interpreting the data difficult. Better dating resolution may be achieved with additional radiocarbon assays and specialized excavation techniques.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Freiwald, Carolyn
Commitee: Johnson, Jay K., Murray, Matthew L., Wrobel, Gabriel
School: The University of Mississippi
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Mississippi
Source: MAI 56/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology
Keywords: Caves Branch Rockshelter, Comingling, Dating, Fluorine, Maya, Mortuary
Publication Number: 10247539
ISBN: 978-1-369-49817-2
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