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Petrous bone diagenesis: a multi-analytical approach

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Publication details

JournalPalaeogeography palaeoclimatology palaeoecology
DateAccepted/In press - 4 Jan 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 8 Jan 2019
DatePublished (current) - 15 Mar 2019
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)143-154
Early online date8/01/19
Original languageEnglish


The discovery of petrous bone as an excellent repository for ancient biomolecules has been a turning point in biomolecular archaeology, especially in aDNA research, but excessive and uncontrolled sampling could result in loss of this valuable resource for future research. This study reports on the histological (optical microscopy), physical (FTIR-ATR), elemental (CHN) and biochemical (collagen and DNA analysis) preservation of 15 human petrous bones spanning from the c. 2100 BCE to 1850 CE. Through the combined application of a number of diagenetic parameters (general histological index; infrared splitting factor; carbonate/phosphate ratio; amide/phosphate ratio; col wt%; % C, % N and C/N of whole bone and collagen; % endogenous DNA), we provide new insights into petrous bone micromorphological characteristics and diagenesis, and new evidence to enhance screening practices for aDNA and collagen analysis.

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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

    Research areas

  • aDNA, Bioapatite, Collagen, Diagenesis, Microstructure, Petrous bone

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