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Work Packages

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Anthropology and Ancient DNA

The objectives of this work package are to:

  • Conduct research into the lifeways of the first modern humans to settle in Belgium through the interdisciplinary analysis of human fossils (anthropology and ancient DNA);

  • Provide mitochondrial and ancestry-informative nuclear DNA polymorphisms;

  • Assess the intra- and interpopulation variation within the region, through time and space, as well as discern the relationship with other prehistoric European populations.

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Archaeology: Connected communities of industry (manufacturing, use and exchange)

The objectives are to

  • Reconstruct burial rites by analysing associated grave-gifts

  • Connect the dead and the living through studying surrounding settlement sites

  • Reconstruct intra- and interregional mobility and exchange networks by means of raw material analyses

  • Reconstruct lifeways by analysing the function of lithic tools

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Zooarchaeology: Changing environments and dietary practices

​The objectives are to

  • Reconstruct the animal protein component of the Mesolithic diet

  • Provide humanly modified animal material to obtain radiocarbon dates in the absence of human material;

  • Provide reference data for both the isotope and proteome library.

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We aim to:

  • Optimise existing proteomics methods for sample preparation and analysis towards archaeological research.

  • Analyse Mesolithic human remains, including teeth and bone, to discover their age and sex, adding to understanding of individuals and populations.

  • Explore potential new biomarkers for ancient human bone, including investigating markers of disease.

  • Analyse other Mesolithic organic remains, including animal bones and teeth, to understand more about diets and subsistence strategies.

  • Integrate our proteomic findings with other biomolecular and traditional archaeological methods to reach a fuller understanding of Belgium's earliest human inhabitants.


Isotope analysis

​The aims are

  • To reconstruct Mesolithic dietary habits using carbon, nitrogen and sulfur isotope analysis on human and animal remains from South Belgium

  • To improve dietary reconstructions by implementing Bayesian δ  C-, δ  N- and δ  S-collagen tracer mixing models and compound-specific δ  C and δ  N of bone collagen-derived amino acids

  • To investigate mobility patterns using strontium, sulfur and oxygen isotope analysis. 

  • To investigate climate fluctuations throughout the Mesolithic period in South Belgium.

  • To improve age determination in case of fish consumption or collagen contamination;

  • To optimise sample size and data analysis






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