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Bioarchaeology

Bioarchaeological investigations at the CEZA include anthropological studies as well as further analyses, especially of human and animal skeletal remains, to determine dietary habits and mobility.

The subject of anthropological studies is the scientific processing of human bones and teeth and the drawing of conclusions about age at death and gender, as well as health, disease, activity patterns and taphonomic processes.

The analytical field includes isotope analyses of the elements strontium, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon in tooth enamel or bone. They are used to characterise nutritional habits and to investigate various aspects of human and animal mobility.

Oxygen isotope analyses can be performed on both carbonate and phosphate bound oxygen in hydroxyapatite. The combination of carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses with 14C dating on the same collagen extract is possible.

Wet chemical laboratories and a clean room laboratory for sample preparation, a high-resolution multi-collector mass spectrometer with inductively coupled plasma ionisation (HR-MC-ICP MS) for strontium isotope analyses and two mass spectrometers for light stable isotope analyses with several peripheral devices are available for isotope analyses. All investigations are carried out in close dialogue with the cooperation partners from archaeological research and other cooperating sciences.

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