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5.3 Non-distinctive residue types

The non-distinctive category of residues could easily be mistaken for other residue types or materials originating from the soil or substrate, since they do not exhibit any specific traits that can be seen with reflected VLM. Identification of non-distinctive residue types with reflected VLM should be considered preliminary and inconclusive. Use of the reflected VLM technique alone is insufficient to identify residues in this category with confidence, thus chemical methods of characterisation must be employed for more reliable identification. The residue types that were found to have no diagnostic microscopic characteristics when examined in situ were: bone, antler, muscle, resin, and red ochre. Blood and fat, which were observed but not specifically tested in the experimental design, are also discussed in this group.

Muscle tissue

Biological description

Identification

Identification notes

Reference residue

Figure 40
Figure 40: Muscle residues on flint, reference collection. Note myofibres and banding (cross striations), produced by the arrangement of myofilaments in sarcomere units
Figure 41
Figure 41: Muscle residues on flint, reference collection (SEM-BSE image)
Figure 42
Figure 42: Suspected muscle tissue sheet residue on flint after burial in the wetland for 1 month. Note loss of colour, presence of holes, and lack of banding patterns

Bone

Biological description

Identification

Identification notes

Reference residue

Figure 43
Figure 43: Angular bone flake residues on flint, reference collection
Figure 44
Figure 44: Bone residues on flint, reference collection (SEM-BSE image)

Antler

Biological description

Identification

Reference residue

Figure 45
Figure 45: Angular antler flake residues on flint, reference collection
Figure 46
Figure 46: Antler residues on flint, reference collection (SEM-BSE image)

Blood films

Biological description

Identification

Identification notes

Reference residue

Figure 47
Figure 47: Dry squirrel blood film encrustation and hair viewed in situ on flint from the reference collection. The whole animal was previously frozen. Note that the general mud-cracked appearance of the blood film is maintained
Figure 48
Figure 48: Squirrel blood film and two hairs on flint from the reference collection. The whole animal was previously frozen, which likely explains the lack of recognisable RBCs within the mud-cracked blood film. Hairs show coronal scales that encircle the shaft diameter, a feature common to rodents and bats. Distal ends of the hairs towards the top of image (SEM-BSE image)
Figure 49
Figure 49: Squirrel blood film on flint from the reference collection. Note amorphous ruptured RBC membranes (SEM-BSE)

Animal fat

Biological description

Identification

Reference residue

Figure 50
Figure 50: Suspected fat and/or muscle residue from a flake used to cut into bird tissues, reference collection. Note individual adipocytes are not recognisable

Resin

Biological description

Identification

Reference residue

Figure 51
Figure 51: Dried natural conifer pine resin on flint from the reference collection, exhibiting rough texture and a brown to amber colour, but no diagnostic characteristics
Figure 52
Figure 52: Rough and amorphous texture of natural pine resin. Resin on flint, reference collection (SEM-BSE)

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