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Algirdas Gaigalas, Anna Pazdur, Adam Michczynski, Jacek Pawlyta, Arūnas Kleišmantas, Monika Melešytė, Eugenija Rudnickaitė, Vaidotas Kazakauskas and Julius Vainorius

Abstract

Abundant wood remains and buried trees have been found in the western part of Lithuania near Zakeliškiai and Lyduvėnai on Dubysa River (a tributary of Nemunas River) where deposits are rich in organic remnants and buried soils. In Zakeliškiai and Skiručiai sections of Dubysa River oxbow sediments were investigated by various methods (dendrochronological, carbonate, granulometric, pollen and mollusc fauna analysis). In addition, these sections were dated using the radiocarbon method. Samples were collected from deposits of Dubysa River outcrops. The studied oxbow lakes have existed for more than 5 thousand years (from ca. 4300 BC to 1000 AD). During this period organic rich deposits with trees and branches were formed in the oxbow lake. This indicates that at the end of Atlantic, during Subboreal and in the early Subatlantic periods there was a forest growing that contained mainly oaks which were falling down into an oxbow lake and later were covered by sandy and silty deposits. The granulometry of alluvial deposits, as well as the mixture of medium-grained sand and silt show different stages of Dubysa River palaeochannel formation: riverbed and oxbow lakes. Three climate warming cycles were revealed according to carbonate analysis data in all investigated sections. The rheophile thermophilous Holocene age molluscs species Bithynia tentaculata L., Unio cf. crassus Philipsson, Pisidium amnicum (Müller), Theodoxus fluviatilis (Linnaeus) have been found. The pollen composition and sequences have been divided into five local pollen assemblage zones (LPAZ) and described according to pollen spectra in each zone. In this way it is possible restore palaeoclimatic coherent evolution, trends and cyclical change.

Open access

Beata Stepańczak, Krzysztof Szostek and Jacek Pawlyta

Abstract

The oxygen isotope ratio (δ18O) in tissues is the outcome of both climatic and geographical factors in a given individual’s place of abode, as well as the physiology and metabolism of his organism. During an individual’s life, various rates and intensities of physiological and metabolic processes are observable in the organism, also within the bone tissue.

The aim of this study is to verify whether involutional changes occurring as a result of the organism’s ageing have a significant impact on δ18O determined in the bone tissue.

The material used for analysis was fragments of the long bones taken from 65 people, (11 children and 54 adults), whose remains had been uncovered at the early mediaeval (X–XI century) cemetery located at the Main Market Square in Kraków (Poland).

The correlation analysis between δ18O of bone tissue and an individual’s age shows that up to 40 years of age, such a relationship does not exist in both, males and females. However, the conducted correlation analysis prompted the observation that after 40 years of life, δ18O in bone tissue significantly drops as females increase in age.

Results suggest that the δ18O in bone tissue among older people may be the outcome not only of environmental factors but also involutional changes in bone linked to an organism’s ageing. Therefore, the interpretation of δ18O results relating to the description of the origin and migrations of older individuals should be treated with caution.

Open access

Krzysztof Szostek, Beata Stepańczak, Anita Szczepanek, Małgorzata Kępa, Henryk Głąb, Paweł Jarosz, Piotr Włodarczak, Krzysztof Tunia, Jacek Pawlyta, Czesława Paluszkiewicz and Grzegorz Tylko

Diagenetic signals from ancient human remains - bioarchaeological applications

This preliminary study examines the potential effects of diagenetic processes on the oxygen-isotope ratios of bone and tooth phosphate (δ18O) from skeletal material of individuals representing the Corded Ware Culture (2500-2400 BC) discovered in Malżyce (Southern Poland). Intra-individual variability of Ca/P, CI, C/P, collagen content (%) and oxygen isotopes was observed through analysis of enamel, dentin and postcranial bones. Using a variety of analytical techniques, it was found that, despite the lack of differences in soil acidity, not all the parts of a skeleton on a given site had been equally exposed to diagenetic post mortem changes. In a few cases, qualitative changes in the FTIR spectrum of analysed bones were observed. The data suggest that apart from quantitative analyses, i.e., the calculation of Ca/P, CI, C/P and collagen content, qualitative analyses such as examination of the absorbance line are recommended. The degree to which a sample is, contaminated on the basis of any additional, non-biogenic peaks, deemed to be contaminated should also be specified.