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Title: Statistical treatment of trace element data and ancient animal bone : evaluation of Roman Byzantine environmental pollution
Authors: Degryse, Patrick ×
Muchez, Philippe
De Cupere, Béatrice
Van Neer, Willem
Waelkens, Marc #
Issue Date: Oct-2004
Publisher: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 270 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016, USA
Series Title: Analytical Letters vol:37 issue:13 pages:2819-2834
Abstract: Through chemical analysis of ancient animal bone found at the archaeological site of Sagalassos, and through comparison of the analytical data with that from modern bone and feed from the same location, conclusions on the ancient livestock are made. Samples of ancient and modern goat bone as well as Quercus coccifera were analyzed using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS). After evaluation of the consistency of the chemical characteristics of different types of modern bone in one individual, it is decided to use the trace element data of long bone for statistical treatment. After evaluation of the degree and effects of diagenesis in the fossil bone, it is concluded that trace element data are useful indicators for anthropogenic palaeoenvironmental pollution, as a distinction could be made between elements that occur naturally in the bedrock and those that can be linked to industrial pollution. The occurrence or depletion of the latter elements in fossil bone, show diachronic changes in the chemical composition of the goat bones which can be explained in function of the changing catchment area from which the animals were obtained through time. It is conceivable that during periods of insecurity, such as the fifth to sixth century A.D. in the area of Sagalassos, animal herds were kept closer to the ancient town and would hence take up more pollutants with the ingested food. A lower uptake of pollutants during the fourth century, a rich and secure period in the history of the city, can be explained by a wider catchment area from which the goats were obtained.
URI: 
ISSN: 0003-2719
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity Conservation Section
Division of Geology
Archaeology, Leuven
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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