Oxygen stable isotopes variation in water precipitation in Poland – anthropological applications

Open access


The main objective of oxygen isotope analysis is to determine the probable place of origin of an individual or the reconstruction of migration paths. The research are methodologically based on referencing oxygen isotope ratios of apatite phosphates (δ18Op) to the range of environmental background δ18O, most frequently determined on the basis of precipitation.

The present work is a response to the need for providing background for oxygen isotope studies on skeletons excavated in Poland. Currently there no monitoring of the isotope composition of precipitation water in Poland is conducted. For this reason, based on the data generated in the Online Isotopes In Precipitation Calculator (OIPC), a database was developed, containing δ18O levels in precipitation for locations in which exploration work was carried out in the archaeological fields from Poland. In total, 279 locations were analysed. The result of the data analysis was a complete isotope composition map for Poland with four zones distinguished by δ18Ow values.

The observable differences in oxygen isotope composition of precipitation in Poland are sufficient to trace migrations of individuals and populations, although accurate only at the level of macroregions.

Baran A, Hałas S. 2010. Isotope study of therapeutic waters from Horyniec Spa, SE Poland. Isot Environ Healt S 46:454-62.

Bentley RA, Knipper C. 2005. Geographical patterns in biologically available strontium, carbon and oxygen isotope signatures in prehistoric SW Germany. Archaeometry 47(3):629-44.

Birks SJ, Gibson JJ, Gourcy L, Aggarwal PK, Edwards TWD. 2002. Maps and animations offer new opportunities for studying the global water cycle. Eos Transactions 83(37): electronic supplement. Available at: http://www.agu.org/eoselec/eeshome.html.

Bowen GJ, Wassenaar LI, Hobson KA. 2005. Global application of stable hydrogen and oxygen isotopes to wildlife forensics. Oecologia. 143(3):337-48.

Bowen GJ, Wilkinson B. 2002. Spatial distribution of δ18O in meteoric precipitation. Geology 30:315-8.

Bowen GJ, Revenaugh J. 2003. Interpolating the isotopic composition of modern meteoric precipitation. Water Resour Res 39(10)1-13.

Boyle EA. 1997. Cool tropical temperatures shift the global δ18O-T relationship: An explanation for the ice core δ18O-borehole thermometry conflict? Geophys Res Lett 24:273-6.

Bryant JD, Froelich PN. 1995. A model of oxygen isotope fractionation in body water of large mammals. Geochim Cosmochim Ac 59(21):4523-37.

Budd P, Millard A, Chenery C, Lucy S, Roberts C. 2004. Investigating population movement by stable isotope analysis: a report from Britain. Antiquity 78(299):127-41.

Ciężkowski W, Gröning M, Leśniak PM, Weise M, Zuber A. 1992. Origin and age of thermal waters in Cieplice Spa, Sudeten, Poland, inferred from isotope, chemical and noble gas data. J Hydrol 140:89-117.

Ciężkowski W, Chowaniec J, Górecki W, Krawiec A, Rajchel L, Zuber A. 2010. Mineral and thermal waters of Poland. Przegląd Geologiczny 58:762-73.

Dansgaard W. 1964. Stable isotopes in precipitation. Tellus 16:436-68.

Darling WC, Bath AH, Talbot JC. 2003. The O & H stable isotopic composition of fresh waters in the British Isles: 2, Surface waters and groundwater. Hydrol Earth Syst Sc 7(2):183-95.

Darling WG. 2004. Hydrological factors in the interpretation of stable isotopic proxy data present and past: a European perspective. Quaternary Sci Rev 23:743-70.

Daux V, Lécuyer C, Héran MA, Amiot R, Simon L, Fourel F, et al. 2008. Oxygen isotope fractionation between human phosphate and water revisited. J Hum Evol 55:1138-47.

Dupras TL, Schwarcz HP. 2001. Strangers in a strange land: stable isotope evidence for human migration in the Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt. J Archaeol Sci 28:1199-208.

Evans J, Stoodley N, Chenery C. 2006. A strontium and oxygen isotope assessment of a possible fourth century immigrant population in a Hampshire cemetery, southern England. J Archaeol Sci 33(2):265-72.

Gregoricka L, Sheridan S. 2017. Continuity or conquest? A multi-isotope approach to investigating identity in the Early Iron Age of the Southern Levant. Am Journal Phys Anthropol 162(1):73-89.

Kendall EJ, Montgomery J, Evans JA, Stantis C, Mueller V. 2013. Mobility, Mortality, and the Middle Ages: Identification of Migrant Individuals in a 14th Century Black Death Cemetery Population. Am J Phys Anthropol 150:210-222.

Kohn MJ. 1996. Predicting animal δ18O: accounting for diet and physiological adaptation. Geochim Cosmochim Ac 60(23):4811-29.

Kondracki J. 2009. Geografia regionalna Polski. Warszawa: PWN.

Kortelainen NM, Karhu JA. 2004. Regional and seasonal trends in the oxygen and hydrogen isotope ratios of Finnish groundwaters: a key for mean annual precipitation. J Hydrol 285:143-57.

Kozak J. 1998. Materiał i metody. In: J. Kozak, J Piontek, J.Cieślik, MD Kaliszewska-Drozdowska, M Kaczmarek and J Strzałko, editors. Biologiczne skutki zróżnicowania społecznego populacji ludzkich z terenu Polski w okresie feudalnym i przełomu industrialnego. Poznań: Monografie Instytutu Antropologii UAM 1:11-20.

Lisowska-Gaczorek A, Kozieł S, Cienkosz- Stepańczak B, Mądrzyk K, Pawlyta J, Gronkiewicz S, et al. 2016. An analysis of the origin of an early medieval group of individuals from Gródek based on the analysis of stable oxygen isotopes. HOMO 67(4):313-27.

Longinelli A, Selmo E. 2003. Isotopic composition of precipitation in Italy: a first overall map. J Hydrol 270(1-2):75-88.

OIPC: The Online Isotopes in Precipitation Calculator. Available at: http://wateriso.utah.edu/.

Poradnik E. 1981. Wykaz polskich stanowisk kostnych, opracowany na podstawie piśmiennictwa z lat 1952-1978. Materiały i Prace Antropologiczne 100:131-71.

Price TD, Burton JH, Sharer RJ, Buikstra JE, Wright LE, Traxler LP, Miller KA. 2010. Kings and commoners at Copan: Isotopic evidence for origins and movement in the Classic Maya period. J Anthropol Archaeol 29:15-32.

Prowse TL, Schwarcz HP, Garnsey P, Knyf M, Macchiarelli R, Bondioli L. 2007. Isotopic Evidence for Age-Related Immigration to Imperial Rome. Am J Phys Anthropol 132:510-19.

Roberts CA, Millard AR, Nowell GM, Gröcke DR, Macpherson CG, Pearson DG et al. 2013. Isotopic tracing of the impact of mobility on infectious disease: The origin of people with treponematosis buried in hull, England, in the late medieval period. Am J Phys Anthropol 150:273-85.

Różanski K, Araguas-Araguas L, Gonfiantini R. 1993. Isotopic patterns in modern global precipitation. In: PK Swart, KC Lohmann, J McKenzie and S Savin, editors. Climate change in continental isotopic records. Washington DC: American Geophysical Union. 1-12.

Schuh C, Makarewicz CA. 2016. Tracing residential mobility during the Merovingian period: An isotopic analysis of human remains from the Upper Rhine Valley, Germany. Am J Phys Anthropol 161(1):155-69.

Shaw B, Buckley H, Summerhayes G, Anson D, Garling S, Valentin F et al. 2010. Migration and mobility at the Late Lapita site of Reber-Rakival (SAC), Watom Island using isotope and trace element analysis: a new insight into Lapita interaction in the Bismarck Archipelago. J Archaeol Sci 37(3):605-13.

Sjögren KG, Price TD, Ahlström T. 2009. Megaliths and mobility in south-western Sweden. Investigating relationships between a local society and its neighbours using strontium isotopes. J Anthropol Archaeol 28:85-101.

Stuart-Williams HL, Schwarcz HP, White CD, Spence MW. 1996. The isotopic composition of human bone from Teotihuacan and Oaxaca, Mexico. Palaeogeogr Palaeocl 126:1-14.

Szostek K, Haduch E, Stepańczak B, Kruk J, Szczepanek A, Pawlyta J, et al. 2014. Isotopic composition and identification of the origins of individuals buried in a Neolithic collective grave at Bronocice (southern Poland). HOMO 65(2):115-30.

The Global Network for Isotopes in Precipitation. Available at: http://www-naweb.iaea.org/.

Turner BL, Kamenov GD, Kingston JD, Armelagos GJ. 2009. Insights into immigration and social class at Machu Picchu, Peru based on oxygen, strontium, and lead isotopic analysis. J Archaeol Sci 36(2):317-32.

White CD, Longstaffe FJ, Spence MW, Law KR. 2000. Teotihuacan state representation at Kaminaljuyú: evidence from oxygen isotopes. J Anthropol Res 56:535-58.

White CD, Spence MW, Longstaffe FJ, Law KR. 2004. Demography and ethnic continuity in the Tlailotlacan enclave of Teotihuacan: the evidence from stable oxygen isotopes. J Anthropol Archaeol 23:385-403.

White CD, Spence MW, Stuart-Williams HLQ, Schwarcz HP. 1998. Oxygen isotopes and the identification of geographical origins: the Valley of Oaxaca versus the Valley of Mexico. J Archaeol Sci 25:643-55.

Wright LE, Valdés JA, Burton JH, Price TD, Schwarcz HP. 2010. The children of Kaminaljuyu: Isotopic insight into diet and long distance interaction in Mesoamerica. J Anthropol Archaeol 29:155-78.

Wright LE. 2012. Immigration to Tikal, Guatemala: Evidence from stable strontium and oxygen isotopes. J Anthropol Archaeol 31(3):334-52.

Zuber A, Weise S, Osenbriick K, Mateńko T. 1997. Origin and age of saline waters in Busko Spa (Southern Poland) determined by isotope, noble gas and hydrochemical methods: evidence of interglacial and pre-Quaternary warm climate recharges. Appl Geochem 12(5):643-60.

Anthropological Review

The Journal of Polish Anthropological Society

Journal Information

CiteScore 2017: 0.70

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.282
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.439


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 226 226 33
PDF Downloads 86 86 5