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Synchrotron scientists and international team reveal tales told by old bones
PhysOrg ^ | April 30, 2012 | U of Saskatchewan

Posted on 05/03/2012 12:47:54 AM PDT by SunkenCiv

Using the presence of trace amounts of lead and strontium as clues, the team is using the CLS to hunt for the presence of these elements in tiny shards of bones from sailors and others interred in a Royal Navy cemetery in the late 1700s to early 1800s. The work is published online in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Bone is a living tissue, formed as we grow and healing after it breaks. It is also constantly being rebuilt and recycled by the body. As new bone is laid down, there is the chance that metals in the body will be incorporated along with the usual calcium and phosphorous. The presence of those other metals can yield important insights into a person's diet, what they did for a living, what medicines they might have used, and even how long they might have lived in a particular place. The challenge for researchers is to prove that the traces they are finding were incorporated into a person's bones while he or she was alive and not the result of post-mortem contamination...

To collect the bones used in the study, Varney worked with National Parks Antigua at a cemetery threatened by a nearby development. To see if the synchrotron could differentiate between something deposited while the bone was being grown and not by contamination, the team decided to focus on two metals: lead, notorious for how it can hang around in the body, and strontium, an element that can also substitute for calcium in bone.

(Excerpt) Read more at phys.org ...


TOPICS: History; Science; Travel
KEYWORDS: ancientautopsies; godsgravesglyphs
Microscopic images of a bone fragment. A conventional histological image (A) highlights regions of interest with corresponding element scans from the CLS of calcium in yellow (B.), lead in red (C.) and strontium in blue (D.). Source: Swanston et al., 2012

Synchrotron scientists and international team reveal tales told by old bones

1 posted on 05/03/2012 12:47:58 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
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To: StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; ...

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


2 posted on 05/03/2012 12:50:40 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (FReepathon 2Q time -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv
You can see strange things working the graveyard shift.


3 posted on 05/03/2012 3:28:08 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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