Comparison of isotopic variability in proteinaceous tissues of a domesticated herbivore: A baseline for zooarchaeological investigation

I. C C Von Holstein*, J.M. Hamilton, Oliver E. Craig, Jason Newton, M. J. Collins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

RATIONALE A variety of metabolic, dietary and climatic influences on isotopic variation have been established in mammalian hair. The relevance of these factors to collagen isotopic composition is unknown, but would be of great interest to zooarchaeological analyses of faunal skeletal tissue. METHODS The relationships between carbon (δ13C), nitrogen (δ15N), non-exchangeable hydrogen (δ2H) and oxygen (δ18O) values of defatted, demineralised and gelatinised bone collagen and defatted wool keratin from two sheep flocks (n = 20, 5) in the UK were investigated, including testing for the effects of nutritional plane, sex, pregnancy and season of sample collection. The sulfur composition (δ34S values) was also investigated for tissues from the smaller flock. RESULTS Bulk collagen was enriched in 13C over bulk keratin by 2.0 - 2.7‰ and in 2H by 29 - 40‰ but depleted in 18O relative to keratin by 1.8‰. Differences in δ15N values were within experimental error. The collagen samples were generally more enriched in 34S than keratin, but this was very variable. Pregnancy, sex and season, but not nutritional plane, significantly affected isotope values but did not change overall keratin-collagen relationships. CONCLUSIONS This dataset provides a baseline measure of variability and comparability for isotopic investigations into origin and husbandry conditions in archaeological sheep tissues, both collagen and keratin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2601-2615
Number of pages15
JournalRCM. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Volume27
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2013

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