From riches to rags: Organic deterioration at Star Carr

Nicky Milner, Chantal Conneller, Ben Elliott, Hannah Koon, Ian Panter, Kirsty Penkman, Barry Taylor, Maisie Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 11,000-year old lake edge archaeological site of Star Carr in the Vale of Pickering of North Yorkshire is one of the most famous Mesolithic sites in Europe, and one of the earliest, dated to the period of climatic warming that immediately followed the final termination of the last ice age. One of the main reasons for this international importance is the richness of its organic artefacts, faunal assemblage and environmental data. However, recent investigations have demonstrated that these organic remains have severely deteriorated over the last 60 years due to the decay and acidification of the surrounding peat. This paper presents research into the effects on the bone (histological analysis using light and polarising microscopy, and Transmission Electron Microscopy, bulk collagen analysis, and amino acid analysis), antler (visual and metrical analysis, loss on ignition and Scanning Electron Microscopy) and wood (visual analysis, decay assessment tests and Scanning Electron Microscopy). © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2818-2832
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • Antler
  • Bone
  • Deterioration
  • Mesolithic
  • Organic
  • Star Carr
  • Wood


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