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A Bloody Mystery: Proteomic Residue Analysis of Funerary Ceramics from the Early Iron Age Heuneburg

Author(s): Conner Wiktorowicz ; Bettina Arnold ; John Wiktorowicz ; Alexander Kurosky

Year: 2016

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Summary

This paper presents the results of a proteomic analysis (protein-based mass spectrometry) of the contents of six ceramic vessels excavated from a burial mound near the Heuneburg, an early Iron Age (640-400 BC) hillfort in southwest Germany. One hundred and sixty eight proteins from human, animal, and microbial sources were identified with high confidence and low false discovery rate, demonstrating the suitability of proteomics for discovery-based residue analysis in untreated prehistoric funerary ceramics. More generally, the analysis also validates the viability of proteomic techniques for identifying proteins adsorbed to archaeologically-recovered pottery vessels. Finally, the results obtained revealed a surprising probable cause of death for at least one high-status Iron Age European individual through proteomic technology, at the same time shedding new light on mortuary practices preceding the final deposition of the body in early Iron Age southwest Germany.


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A Bloody Mystery: Proteomic Residue Analysis of Funerary Ceramics from the Early Iron Age Heuneburg. Conner Wiktorowicz, Bettina Arnold, John Wiktorowicz, Alexander Kurosky. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404625)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Europe


Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America