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The Journal of Mineralogical Society of Poland

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Diagenetic signals from ancient human remains - bioarchaeological applications

Krzysztof Szostek / Beata Stepańczak / Anita Szczepanek / Małgorzata Kępa / Henryk Głąb / Paweł Jarosz / Piotr Włodarczak / Krzysztof Tunia / Jacek Pawlyta
  • Department of Radioisotopes, Institute of Physics, Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice, Poland
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/ Czesława Paluszkiewicz
  • Faculty of Materials Science and Ceramics, AGH University of Science and Technology, Kraków, Poland
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/ Grzegorz Tylko
  • Department of Cytology and Histology, Institute of Zoology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
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Published Online: 2012-07-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10002-011-0009-4

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.

Keywords: diagenesis; Neolithic; oxygen isotopes; FTIR; EDS; bioarchaeology

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About the article

Published Online: 2012-07-04

Published in Print: 2011-01-01

Citation Information: Mineralogia, Volume 42, Issue 2-3, Pages 93–112, ISSN (Online) 1899-8526, ISSN (Print) 1899-8291, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10002-011-0009-4.

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