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Ancient DNA, lipid biomarkers and palaeoecological evidence reveals construction and life on early medieval lake settlements

Brown, A.G.; Van Hardenbroek, M.; Fonville, T.; Davies, K.; Mackay, H.; Murray, E.; Head, K.; Barratt, P.; McCormick, F.; Ficetola, G.F.; Gielly, L.; Henderson, A.C.G.; Crone, A.; Cavers, G.; Langdon, P.G.; Whitehouse, N.J.; Pirrie, D.; Alsos, I.G.

Ancient DNA, lipid biomarkers and palaeoecological evidence reveals construction and life on early medieval lake settlements Thumbnail


Authors

A.G. Brown

M. Van Hardenbroek

T. Fonville

K. Davies

E. Murray

K. Head

P. Barratt

F. McCormick

G.F. Ficetola

L. Gielly

A.C.G. Henderson

A. Crone

G. Cavers

P.G. Langdon

N.J. Whitehouse

D. Pirrie

I.G. Alsos



Abstract

Direct evidence of ancient human occupation is typically established through archaeological excavation. Excavations are costly and destructive, and practically impossible in some lake and wetland environments. We present here an alternative approach, providing direct evidence from lake sediments using DNA metabarcoding, steroid lipid biomarkers (bile acids) and from traditional environmental analyses. Applied to an early Medieval Celtic settlement in Ireland (a crannog) this approach provides a site chronology and direct evidence of human occupation, crops, animal farming and on-site slaughtering. This is the first independently-dated, continuous molecular archive of human activity from an archaeological site, demonstrating a link between animal husbandry, food resources, island use. These sites are under threat but are impossible to preserve in-situ so this approach can be used, with or without excavation, to produce a robust and full site chronology and provide direct evidence of occupation, the use of plants and animals, and activities such as butchery.

Citation

Brown, A., Van Hardenbroek, M., Fonville, T., Davies, K., Mackay, H., Murray, E., …Alsos, I. (2021). Ancient DNA, lipid biomarkers and palaeoecological evidence reveals construction and life on early medieval lake settlements. Scientific Reports, 11(1), Article 11807. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-91057-x

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 4, 2021
Online Publication Date Jun 3, 2021
Publication Date 2021-06
Deposit Date Sep 1, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 2, 2021
Journal Scientific Reports
Publisher Nature Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 1
Article Number 11807
DOI https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-91057-x
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1242614

Files

Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (3.8 Mb)
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Publisher Licence URL
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/

Copyright Statement
Advance online version Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.






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