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Bone Sharp Faunal

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UM 478

Seventeenth Century
Hingham, MA

A total of 13 fragments of calcined bone were recovered from Greenbush Line Hingham Underpass Site 1 (UM 478). Faunal remains were identified primarilly as medium (n=6) or large mammal (n=5) flatbone and longbone, respectively. Species identifications of deer and cattle were made of one bone a piece from Feature 41, the peat bordering the edge of the old Town Brook channel. Elements of medium mammal bone took the form of fragments identified as cranium and a possible vertebra. The deer bone present was from a metatarsal while the cattle bone was a carpal. The majority of the fragments represent flatbone elements (n=8). The predominance of flatbone fragments may indicate that the persons responsible for the creation of the faunal assemblage at the site were using more flatbone elements (skull, mandible, vertebra, ribs, scapula, pelvis) than longbones (humerus, ulna, radius, phalanges, femur, tibia, fibula, metapodials), or that flatbone elements were just thrown into the fire more often. Figure 1 shows a generic deer skeleton with the elements labeled. Perhaps, because flatbones generally come from meat cuts that are commonly tougher and are easily tenderized by boiling, these bones were immediately thrown into the fire after the meat had boiled off the bones.

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