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CRC806 project F5 “Refining Chronologies by new Radiocarbon Dating Methods: Towards Molecular Isotope Archaeology”

This project focuses on the development and application of molecular and isotopic tools to solve archaeological problems. It aims at improving the understanding of archaeological samples/artifacts and providing an additional interpretive framework within geo-archaeological contexts especially for samples, which have experienced significant environmental degradation. 

Project F5 targets two major methodological goals:

1) set up a method for compound-specific 14C dating of essential and non-essential amino acids derived from bone collagen to improve age constraints of poorly preserved bones including blank carbon determination and optimization to minimize background contamination.

2) trace lipid abundances and distributions in macroscopic archaeological artifacts and environmental samples to understand their origin and usage patterns with a focus on the wide range of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons providing information on e.g. pyrolysis, manuring, or (paleo)diet.

To achieve these goals, gas chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography will be applied allowing nano-scale detection of biomarkers and enabling micro-scale AMS 14C analyses.