Diagenetic signals from ancient human remains - bioarchaeological applications

Krzysztof Szostek 1 , Beata Stepańczak 1 , Anita Szczepanek 1 , Małgorzata Kępa 1 , Henryk Głąb 1 , Paweł Jarosz 2 , Piotr Włodarczak 2 , Krzysztof Tunia 2 , Jacek Pawlyta 3 , Czesława Paluszkiewicz 4 , and Grzegorz Tylko 5
  • 1 Department of Anthropology, Institute of Zoology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
  • 2 Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology PAN, Kraków, Poland
  • 3 Department of Radioisotopes, Institute of Physics, Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice, Poland
  • 4 Faculty of Materials Science and Ceramics, AGH University of Science and Technology, Kraków, Poland
  • 5 Department of Cytology and Histology, Institute of Zoology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland

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.

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