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A Method to Extract Collagen from Archaeological Leather for Species Identification with ZooMS

Author(s): Luke Spindler ; Krista McGrath ; Matthew Collins ; Penelope Walton Rogers

Year: 2017

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Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS) is a rapid peptide fingerprinting technique capable of identifying species provenance in several archaeological materials of biological origin, and most commonly used on bone. Leather has proven resistant to analysis not only by ZooMS, but also to DNA extraction due to the tannins that are present in the material. We have used alkali (NaOH) to increase the solubility of the tannins and thereby extract them before enzyme digestion. This has allowed us to make several species identifications on samples of archaeological leather in varying different states of decay and mineralisation. The ability to identify leather opens up the possibility of a larger study exploring the production and use of a wide range of leather artefacts. Developing this method could provide advantages over visual examination of follicle patterns where these have been destroyed by the manufacturing process or degradation, and where even with good visual evidence two species are difficult to distinguish from one another (e.g., sheep and goat).

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A Method to Extract Collagen from Archaeological Leather for Species Identification with ZooMS. Luke Spindler, Krista McGrath, Matthew Collins, Penelope Walton Rogers. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431360)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15374

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