The stable isotope lab is once again wrapping up a very productive summer. We welcomed our latest Stable Isotope Post-doctoral Fellow, Damien Huffer, in April. He has since been hard at work sampling collections of Middle-Eastern archaeological human remains and extracting bone collagen for analysis. He will be joining the University of Maryland Geochemistry laboratory as well for a joint effort in strontium isotope analyses of these remains.
Our summer interns are also wrapping up their work. Valerie Hartigan (Coastal Carolina University) studied the isotope variability in squid beaks from preserved museum collections to determine trophic shifts through time. She observed a trend in isotope values indicative of reduced trophic levels followed by a recovery in the latter 20th century. Alex Lowe (University of Utah) studied isotope patterns in North American archaeological human remains. Notable patterns included marked differences between slave populations and upper-class plantation families, as well as a European origin for several Civil War soldiers. We look forward to continuing work on these projects and publishing some of our data soon.