University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series > Strontium isotopes and bioarchaeology – Baselines and limitations

Strontium isotopes and bioarchaeology – Baselines and limitations

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Strontium isotope analysis (87Sr/86Sr) are now commonly used in archaeology to track mobility and migration of past human and animal populations, as well as gaining insights into landscape use, exchanges, and trade. However, diagenesis is an important factor to consider when selecting adequate samples for analyses. Currently, tooth enamel and calcined bone/dentine are considered as reliable proxies for such analyses, while unburnt bone/dentine, wood, charred crops, etc., are affected by post-burial strontium exchanges with the soil in which they are buried. The increasing use of strontium isotope analysis on human and animal remains is creating a large amount of data that is not always straightforward to interpret. Adequate baselines (often called biologically available strontium baselines) are needed to assess if an individual was “local” or not, which are not always available, or not detailed enough. This presentation will discuss the current challenges, limitations, and perspectives for the use of strontium isotope analysis in bioarchaeology and the creation of biologically available strontium baselines.

This talk is part of the Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series series.

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