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icon Kollagen


Collagen is a structural protein and provides elasticity and torsional capacity of biogenic hard tissue. It forms the organic component of bone and dentine, makes up approx. 20% of these hard tissues and is mainly present as type I collagen.

Carbon and nitrogen are main elements in collagen and usually well preserved even in archaeological contexts. Collagen is therefore the most frequently investigated material of human skeletal remains with regard to 14C dating and stable nitrogen and carbon isotope analyses for diet reconstruction.

Sample properties

For 14C dating as well as stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis, collagen is extracted from bone or dentine by demineralization with weak hydrochloric acid. This usually requires a sample size of at least 1 g to start with.

Collagen extracted in external laboratories can also be examined after consultation. In this case, minimum sample sizes are 3 mg for 14C dating and 3 – 5 mg for stable C and N isotope analyses (analysis in triplicates).