The application of consolidation materials to burned bone: A comparative approach
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Fire-altered bone presents a unique challenge to anthropologists and bioarchaeologists due to its characteristically increased friability. A potential solution to this problem is the standardized use of consolidant materials on fragile osteological material, including burned remains. Although anthropologists and odontologists have employed a variety of consolidant materials in the past, there is no consensus regarding which material is most appropriate.
Acryloid™ B-72, Acrysol™ WS-24, Rhoplex™ B-60A, and Butvar® B-98, four easily obtained and commonly used consolidants, were compared to assess their ease of material application and their ability to keep friable, burned bone intact through mechanical testing.
Based on both the qualitative and quantitative data collected, Acryloid™ B-72 is the most suitable consolidant for use on burned bone during in situ recovery. If the dry time for Rhoplex™ B-60A could be significantly reduced through the use of a different solvent, such as acetone, Rhoplex™ B-60A would also be appropriate. However, before using consolidants on friable bone, any additional analyses that may be performed including DNA analysis, stable isotope analysis, and radiocarbon dating need to be considered, and a subset of samples set aside which do not receive consolidant treatment.