Perishable Materials

Perishable Materials is an introduction to an often overlooked classification of artifacts. It provides individuals basic information on the recognition of perishables, cultural usage and alteration, and preservation.  Not all the material offered will be applicable to every field situation.  It is important to maintain at least a marginal working knowledge for the field experience that does involve perishable materials.

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Class Outline

  1. Introduction to perishable materials
    1. Definition of perishable materials
    2. Importance of perishable materials
      1. paleoenvironments
      2. subsistence
      3. cultural practice
  2. Perishables as archaeological evidence
    1. Non-tool material: fauna & flora
    2. unmodified faunal remains
      1. classification system
      2. animal classes and uses
      3. human remains
    3. unmodified floral material
      1. classification system
      2. common materials, cultural uses
    4. Culturally altered materials
      1. methods of alteration
      2. tools, other manufactured material
  3. Deterioration of perishable materials
    1. Causes of deterioration
    2. Common field problems
  4. Preservation & Conservation
    1. Principles of conservation
    2. Use of stabilizers
    3. Packaging