Bone sampling for isotope analysis

01st June 2002

Tim Owen

Introduction

Isotope analysis has been frequently used in archaeology as a means for inferring human and faunal palaeodiet and climatic change through time (Ayliffe and Chivas 1990; Pate 2000). Isotope analysis uses a variety of extraction techniques to isolate bone collagen, hydroxyapatite or holesterol that can then be analysed through GC (gas chromatography), GC/MS (gas chromatography/mass spectrometry), IRM-GC/MS (isotope ratio monitoring-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry) or similar techniques. Although much credence has been given to isolating the different portions of bone and problems associated with diagenesis (Klinken 1999), little information is available on actual bone sampling techniques. Past work on sample preparation has focused on sampling shell (Shackleton 1973), lipid and cholesterol extraction (Evershed et al. 1995; Stott and Evershed 1996), the effects of burial on bone (Nicholson 1998) and preparation of bone for sampling (Ambrose 1990). Minimal study has been conducted regarding the acquisition of samples prior to analysis.

Tim Owen
Bone sampling for isotope analysi
June 2002
54
57-58
Short Report
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