Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details

Open Chemistry

formerly Central European Journal of Chemistry

1 Issue per year

IMPACT FACTOR 2015: 1.207
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.272

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.346
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.841
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 1.164

Open Access
See all formats and pricing
Volume 1, Issue 3 (Sep 2003)


On the possibilities of ICP-AES for analysis of archaeological bones

B. Zlateva
  • Faculty of Chemistry, University of Sofia, 1, James Bouchier Ave, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Email:
/ R. Djingova
  • Faculty of Chemistry, University of Sofia, 1, James Bouchier Ave, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Email:
/ I. Kuleff
  • Faculty of Chemistry, University of Sofia, 1, James Bouchier Ave, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Email:
Published Online: 2003-09-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/BF02476224


The possibility of using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) to determine the elemental composition of archaeological bones elements was evaluated and discussed. The interferences of the major elements (Ca, P, K, Na, Al and Fe) on the microelements (Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr, Zn) were investigated and the appropriate analytical lines were selected. The role of different nebulizers (cross-flow, Babington and Meinhard) on detection limits were investigated. The applicability of the proposed procedure was demonstrated analyzing IAEA-SRM-H-5 (Animal bone); and authentic bone sample dating back to the 4th century BC. These results were compared to ETAAS and ICP-MS.

Keywords: ICP-AES; trace elements; interferences; archaeological bones; bone samples; archaeology

  • [1] J.P. Baraybar: “Diet and Death in a Fog Oasis Site in Central Coastal Peru: A Trace Element Study of Tomb 1 Malanche 22”, Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 26, (1999), pp. 471–482. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jasc.1998.0319 [Crossref]

  • [2] J.P. Baraybar and C. de la Rua: “Reconstruction of Diet with Trace Elements of Bone at the Chalcolithic Site of Pico Ramos, Basque Country, Spain”, Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 24, (1997), pp. 355–364. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jasc.1996.0120 [Crossref]

  • [3] J.H. Burton and T.D. Price: “The Ratio of Barium to Strontium as a Paleodietary Indicator of Consumption of Marine Resources”, Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 17, (1990), pp. 547–557. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0305-4403(90)90035-4 [Crossref]

  • [4] J.H. Burton and T.D. Price: “Evaluation of Bone Strontium as a Measure of Seafood Consumption”, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, Vol. 9, (1999), pp. 233–236. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1212(199907/08)9:4<233::AID-OA476>3.0.CO;2-S [Crossref]

  • [5] J.H. Burton and T.D. Price: “The Use and Abuse of Trace-Elements for Paleodietary Inferences”, In: S.H. Ambrose and M.A. Katzenberg, Eds.: Biochemical Approaches to Paleodietary Analysis, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, Berlin, 2000, pp. 159–171.

  • [6] J. Lambert and J. Weydert-Homeyer: “The Fundamental Relationship between Ancient Diet and Inorganic Constituents of Bone as Derived from Feeding Experiments”, Archaeometry, Vol. 35, (1993), pp. 279–294. [Crossref]

  • [7] S. Safont, A. Malgosa, M. Subira, J. Gibert: “Can Trace Elements in Fossils Provide Information about Paleodiet?”, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, Vol. 8, (1998), pp. 23–37. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1212(199801/02)8:1<23::AID-OA403>3.0.CO;2-R [Crossref]

  • [8] N. Piguitore, G. Cruz-Jemenez, T.D. Price: “Incorporation of Trace Elements in Ancient and Modern, Human Bones: A X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy Study”, Trans. AGU, Vol. 82 (47), Abstr. No. B22A-0136, (2001).

  • [9] Y.C. Yoo, S.K. Lee, J.Y. Yang, S.W. In, K.W. Kim, K.H. Chung, M.G. Chung, S.Y. Choung: “Organ Distribution of Heavy Metals in Autopsy Material from North Corea”, Journal of Health Science, Vol. 48, (2002), pp. 186–193. http://dx.doi.org/10.1248/jhs.48.186 [Crossref]

  • [10] J.H. Burton and L.E. Wright: “Nonlinearity in the Relationship between Bone Sr/Ca and Diet: Paleodietary Implications”, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 96, (1995), pp. 273–282. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.1330960305 [Crossref]

  • [11] C. Gilbert, J. Sealy, A. Sillen: “An Investigation of Barium, Calcium and Strontium as a Paleodietary Indicators in the Southwestern Cape, South Africa”, Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 21, (1994), pp. 173–184. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jasc.1994.1020 [Crossref]

  • [12] H. Magou, G. Panagiaris, C. Manolis, C. Zafeiratos: “Identification of Chemical Elements in Excavated Human Bones of Ancient Cemeteries from Greece”, PACT, Vol. 45, (1990), pp. 97–110.

  • [13] J. Lambert, S. Simpson, C. Szpunar, J. Buikstra: “Copper and Barium as Dietary Diskriminants: the Effects of Diagenesis”, Archaeometry, Vol. 26, (1984a), pp. 131–138. [Crossref]

  • [14] J. Lambert, S. Simpson, C. Szpunar, J. Buikstra: “Ancient Human Diet from Inorganic Analysis of Bone”, Account of Chemical Research, Vol. 17, (1984b), pp. 298–305. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ar00105a001 [Crossref]

  • [15] J. Edward, J.M. Fossey, L. Yaffe: “Analysis by Neutron Activation of Human Bone from the Hellenistic Cemetery at the Asine, Greece”, Journal of Field Archaeology, Vol. 11/1, (1984), pp. 1–7.

  • [16] M.D. Grynpas, K.P. Pritzker, R.G.V. Hancock: “Neutron Activation Analysis of Bulk and Selected Trace Elements in Bones Using a Low Flux SLOWPOKE Reactor”, Biological Trace Elements Research, Vol. 13, (1987), pp. 333–344.

  • [17] R.G.V. Hancock, M.D. Grynpas, K.P. Pritzker: “The Abuse of Bone Mineral Analysis for Archaeological Dietary Studies”, Archaeometry, Vol. 31, (1989), pp. 169–179. [Crossref]

  • [18] R.G.V. Hancock, M.D. Grynpas, K. Akesson, K. Obrant, J. Trunquist, M. Kessler: “Baselines and Variabilites of Major and Trace Elements in Bone”, In: J. Lambert and G. Grupe, Eds.: Prehistoric Human Bone. Archaeology at the Molecular Level, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1993, pp. 189–201.

  • [19] S. Safont, A. Malgosa, M.E. Subira, J. Gibert: “Placing the Orce Homind into the Trophic Chain. Trace Element Analysis by ICP-MS in the Venta Micena Site (Orce, Granada, Spain)”, In: Pros. XIII Intern. Congr. Prehistoric and Protohistoric Science, Forli, (Italy), 1996, Forli, 1996, Vol. 1, pp. 297–303.

  • [20] M.E. Subira and A. Malgosa: “Alkaline Earth Metal Content of Human Bones at the Site “S’Illot des Porros” (Iron Age, Mallorca, Spain)”, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, Vol. 6, (1991), pp. 225–231.

  • [21] M.E. Subira and A. Malgosa: “The Effect of Cremation on the Study of Trace Elements”, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, Vol. 3, (1993), pp. 115–118. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/oa.1390030208 [Crossref]

  • [22] M.E. Subira: “Some Alkaline Earth Metals as Paleodietary Indicators at Porros Site (Malloraca, Iron Age)”, Anthrop. Koezl., Vol. 32, (1989/90), pp. 27–31.

  • [23] J. Yoshinaga, T. Suzuki, M. Morita: “Sex- and Age-Related Variation in Elemental Concentrations of Contemporary Japanese Ribs”, Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 79, (1989), pp. 209–221. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0048-9697(89)90337-9 [Crossref]

  • [24] J. Lee: “Calcium Matrix Effects in Multi-Element Analysis of Animal Bone by Inductively-Coupled Plasma Atomic-Emission Spectrometry”, Analytica Chimica Acta, Vol. 152, (1983), pp. 141–147. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0003-2670(00)84904-1 [Crossref]

  • [25] H. Mahanti and R. Barnes: “Determination of Major, Minor and Trace Elements in Bones by Inductively-Coupled Plasma Atomic-Emission Spectrometry”, Analytica Chimica Acta, Vol. 151, (1983), pp. 409–417. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0003-2670(00)80103-8 [Crossref]

  • [26] J.E. Meinhard: ICP Inform. Newsletter, Vol. 2, (1976), pp. 163–179.

  • [27] R.H. Knisley, H. Amenson, C.C. Butler, V.A. Fassel: Applied Spectroscopy, Vol. 28, (1974), pp. 285–292. http://dx.doi.org/10.1366/000370274774332560 [Crossref]

  • [28] R.F. Suddendorf and K.W. Boyer: Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 50, (1978), pp. 1769–1774. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ac50035a014 [Crossref]

  • [29] I. Kuleff, R. Djingova, B. Zlateva: “Archaeometric Investigations of Bones from Thrace”, Archaeologia Bulgarica, Vol. 3, (2000), pp. 7–12.

  • [30] B. Zlateva, R. Djingova, I. Kuleff: “Multi-element Analysis of Bones for Dietary Reconstruction of the Inhabitants of Thracia at Hellenistic Times (Bulgaria)”, Berliner Beiträger zur Archaeometrie, Vol. 20, (2003), in press.

  • [31] E. McFarren, R. Lishka, J. Parker: “Criterion for Judging Acceptability of Analytical Methods”, Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 42, (1970), pp. 358–365. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ac60285a009 [Crossref]

  • [32] B. Zlateva and I. Kuleff: “Reconstruction of paleodiet by the chemical analysis of bones”, Archaeologia Bulgarica, Vol. VII (2), (2003), (in press).

About the article

Published Online: 2003-09-01

Published in Print: 2003-09-01

Citation Information: Open Chemistry, ISSN (Online) 2391-5420, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/BF02476224. Export Citation

© 2003 Versita Warsaw. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Dimiter L. Tsalev and Elisaveta Ivanova
Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 2012, Volume 27, Number 10, Page 1645

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in