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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.



Collaboration: DFG project “Living together or apart? Unravelling the development, internal organization and social structure of a complex Bronze Age tell settlement at Toboliu, western Romania”

The Molecular Archaeology & Biogeochemistry Lab contributes to the interdisciplinary Toboliu project https://ufg.phil-fak.uni-koeln.de/forschung/forschungsprojekte/toboliu-project.

We focus on:

1) food residue analysis (compound-specific carbon isotope analysis of fatty acids from potsherds) to reconstruct meat cooking and dairying.

2) faecal biomarker analysis from soils and sediments to reconstruct the impact of herding and/or fertilizer use in farming. 

3) biomarker-based paleoclimate reconstructions.


Collaboration: Reconstructing dairying in Linearbandkeramik settlements in Germany

We use food residue analysis (compound-specific carbon isotope analysis of fatty acids from potsherds) to reconstruct meat cooking and dairying practices in Linearbandkeramik settlements in Germany. We use both a spatial and diachronous approach to obtain a more comprehensive picture of subsistence strategies during the Neolithic.