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Skeletal materials: their structure, technology and utilisation c. A.D. 400-1200

MacGregor, Arthur (1980) Skeletal materials: their structure, technology and utilisation c. A.D. 400-1200. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



In the absence of previously published integrated studies, an attempt is made here to lay the foundations for a systematic approach to the examination of artifacts made from skeletal materials. Four principal groups of raw material are discussed in terms of formation, structure, morphology and availability : skeletal bone from species found within the geographical limits of the study; antlers from extant species of deer and from reindeer, which are no longer found within the regionivory from mammalian teeth, including the tusks of walrus, elephant and mammoth; keratinous hard tissues (which are not of skeletal derivation but which may usefully be considered in association with the other materials reviewed here). The mechanical properties of these materials are compared and contrasted, their fitness for particular roles being demonstrated scientifically : the reasons for the widespread preference of antler as a raw material are identified in this way and certain constructional features of composite objects explained. Working methods used in manufacture are discussed on the basis of close examination of the objects themselves, together with other evidence from archaeological sources and, to some extent, from records of practices noted more recently among related crafts. Chemical softening as a method of moulding and working skeletal materials is discussed and illustrated with the results of practical experiments carried out by the writer. A typological review of the artifacts follows, principally those found in the British Isles during the period c_. A.D, 400-1200; both geographical and chronological limits are freely crossed, however, in order to incorporate further evidence which may illuminate the material under review. The objects concerned are placed within a wider technological and historical background, while reference is made wherever possible to the considerations dealt with in earlier chapters. Catalogues of find spots are given for the objects on which the discussion is based

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1980
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Jul 2013 10:56

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