Bone diagenesis: an overview of processes

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Abstract

This overview is a summary of the state of understanding of processes and states in bone diagenesis, as seen from a chemical perspective. It deals with the significance and usefulness of the measurements of ‘diagenetic parameters’—that is, of measures of diagenetic alteration—and of the theories of physico–chemical processes which are considered to underlie the measured changes. In many ways these two aspects are seen to come together quite well, and some progress has been made in relating different burial environments to the observations of alteration. Such a framework also allows us to ask more penetrating questions, such as how characteristic differences in diagenetic alteration might arise, and how the pre–burial environment might influence the eventual course of diagenesis.

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