Identification of animal fats via compound specific δ13C values of individual fatty acids: assessments of results for reference fats and lipid extracts of archaeological pottery vessels

  • Richard P. Evershed Organic Geochemistry Unit, Biogeochemistry Research Centre, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol
  • Stephanie N. Dudd Organic Geochemistry Unit, Biogeochemistry Research Centre, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol
  • Mark S. Copley Organic Geochemistry Unit, Biogeochemistry Research Centre, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol
  • Anna Mutherjee Organic Geochemistry Unit, Biogeochemistry Research Centre, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol
Keywords: δ13C values, animal fats, fatty acids, lipids, archaeological pottery, organic residues

Abstract

The possibility of obtaining molecular information from lipid residues associated with archaeological pottery has dramatically increased the potential for deriving new information on the use of ancient vessels and the commodities processed therein. Motivated by the high proportion of the archaeological potsherds that have been shown to contain animal fats, a new approach invol- ving compound specific stable isotope analysis of remnant fats has been developed to retrieve infor- mation which will allow new insights into animal exploitation, dietary preferences and vessel use amongst prehistoric peoples. The new approach uses the δ13C values of the major saturated fatty acid (C16:0 and C18:0) determined by gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC–C–IRMS) to characterise the origins of animal fat recovered from archaeological pottery.

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Published
2002-12-22
How to Cite
Evershed, R. P., Dudd, S. N., Copley, M. S., & Mutherjee, A. (2002). Identification of animal fats via compound specific δ13C values of individual fatty acids: assessments of results for reference fats and lipid extracts of archaeological pottery vessels. Documenta Praehistorica, 29, 73-96. https://doi.org/10.4312/dp.29.7
Section
Articles