I googled “how to become a fossil” because I’ve been reading about what archaeology and genetic analysis tells us about ancient humans from their remains, and I feel left out. I, too, wish to be dug up, admired, and analyzed by people unimaginably different from me. While looking into this I hit the motherlode of good science articles re: informativeness and tone on this topic. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20180215-how-does-fossilisation-happen
However, if you want your remains to become a fossil that lasts for millions of years, then you really want minerals to seep through your bones and replace them with harder substances. This process, known as ‘permineralisation’, is what typically creates a fully-fledged fossil. It can take millions of years.
As a result, you might skip the coffin. Bones permineralise most rapidly when mineral-rich water can flow through them, imbuing them with things like iron and calcium. A coffin might keep the skeleton nicely together, but it would interfere with this process.
There is a way a coffin might work, though. Mike Archer, a palaeontologist at the University of New South Wales, suggests burial in a concrete coffin filled with sand and with hundreds of 5mm holes drilled into the sides. This then needs to be buried deep enough that groundwater can pass through.
Archer even suggests getting buried with copper strips and nickel pellets if you fancy fossilised bones and teeth with a nice blue-green colour to them.
I love all the scientists interviewed for this piece.
5. Get discovered
Now you need to think about the potential for rediscovery.
If you want somebody to chance upon your carefully preserved fossil one day, you need to plan for burial in a spot that currently is low enough to accumulate the necessary sediments for deep burial – but that will eventually be pushed up again. In other words, you need a place with uplift where weathering and erosion will eventually scour off the surface layers, exposing you.
One good spot might be the Mediterranean Sea, Syme says; it’s getting shallower as Africa is pushed towards Europe. Other small, inland seas that will fill with sediment are good bets, too.
“Perhaps the Dead Sea,” she says. “The high salt would preserve and pickle you.”
#death tw #interesting #the more you know