Bones and Teeth

  • Mary E. Malainey
Part of the Manuals in Archaeological Method, Theory and Technique book series (MATT)


The analysis of bone for radiocarbon dating is central to archaeology; however, there are other potential uses. Faunal material, tooth enamel in particular, can be reliably dated by electron spin resonance (ESR) and uranium series techniques. Analysis of amino acid content using high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) provides information about collagen preservation; amino acid racemization (AAR) ages can be obtained by comparing the ratio of amino acids in original form to those that have converted to their mirror images. Ancient DNA can be extracted from bone fragments and amplified using the polymerase chain reaction, enabling determination of species. Stable carbon and nitrogen analysis of bone and teeth provides information about the diet of the animal. Analysis of strontium, oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in these tissues gives information about seasonal migrations or other movements of an animal.


Electron Spin Resonance Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis Stable Isotope Analysis Stable Carbon Pink Salmon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary E. Malainey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyBrandon UniversityBrandonCanada

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