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The potential of carbonized grain to preserve biogenic (SR)-S-87/(SR)-S-86 signatures within the burial environment

Heier, A.; Evans, J.A.; Montgomery, J.


A. Heier

J.A. Evans


Carbonized grains survive for millennia in many archaeological contexts. Their stable structure raises the possibility that they preserve biogenic strontium isotope signatures. This hypothesis was investigated using short-term, laboratory experiments with modern grain immersed in Chalk solution. HCl leaching removed > 95% of secondary alteration from charred grain, and isotope ratios close to the starting value were recovered. This could not be achieved with uncharred grains. HCl leaching of archaeological carbonized grains produced comparable levels of decontamination. Although preliminary, these results suggest that strontium isotope analysis of archaeological carbonized grains from calcareous burial contexts could be used to investigate ancient trade and agriculture

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 1, 2009
Deposit Date Jul 13, 2011
Journal Archaeometry
Print ISSN 0003-813X
Electronic ISSN 1475-4754
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 51
Issue 2
Pages 277-291
Keywords Carbonized grain, Strontium isotopes, Diagenesis, TIMS, Trade, Agriculture, North Atlantic Strontium, Isotope ratios, SR-87/SR-86 ratios, Bone, Calcium, Soil, Transport, Dietary, Roots, Xylem.
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