Gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GC/MS) is used to analyse soil residues from hearth sites in Swan Point, Alaska. An experimental hearth is also prepared by burning animal bones to study the characteristics of bone fires and the lipid residues that they leave embedded in soil. Hearth soil samples are derivatized with HCl in methanol to convert bound and unbound fatty acids into methyl esters. Concentrations of saturated fatty acid methyl esters in the samples are determined and their ratios analysed. The fatty acid patterns found in ancient campfires are consistent with burning bones of large ruminants as well as monogastric herbivores.
Archaeometry – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2009
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