Collagen Fingerprinting on Neolithic Fish from Lithuania

Author(s): Virginia Harvey; Linas Daugnora; Mike Buckley

Year: 2018


Archaeological fish remains are more taphonomically sensitive than those of other vertebrates as they are typically smaller and less biomineralised. Therefore, it is essential to retrieve as much information as possible from assemblages that favour their preservation. One of the most time- and cost-efficient methods of objectively achieving faunal identity in ancient bone is collagen fingerprinting technique ‘ZooMS’ (Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry). ZooMS harnesses the potential of preserved collagen, the most dominant and time-stable protein in bone, to generate peptide mass spectra that are diagnostic of faunal identity. Here, ZooMS is applied to 116 fish bone samples from a ~5000 year old assemblage from the Šventoji region of Lithuania to deduce species identity and construct assemblage compositions. Identifications from ZooMS analysis uncovered incorrect morphological identifications in 14% of the fish samples analysed. Furthermore, through the analysis of over twenty different species, we demonstrate the ability to distinguish between closely diverged members of the Salmo spp. (salmon) and Scophthalmus spp. (turbot) genera; some of the taxa most frequently misidentified in this assemblage. This research highlights the great potential for applying ZooMS to archaeological fish remains that are otherwise often left unidentified.

Cite this Record

Collagen Fingerprinting on Neolithic Fish from Lithuania. Virginia Harvey, Linas Daugnora, Mike Buckley. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442820)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -26.016; min lat: 53.54 ; max long: 31.816; max lat: 80.817 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20627