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.
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
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.
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.
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