Towards a biologically available strontium isotope baseline for Ireland
AuthorSnoeck, C; Ryan, S; Pouncett, J; Pellegrini, M; Claeys, P; Wainwright, AN; Mattielli, N; Lee-Thorp, JA; Schulting, RJ
Source TitleScience of the Total Environment
University of Melbourne Author/sWainwright, Ashlea
AffiliationSchool of Earth Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsSnoeck, C., Ryan, S., Pouncett, J., Pellegrini, M., Claeys, P., Wainwright, A. N., Mattielli, N., Lee-Thorp, J. A. & Schulting, R. J. (2020). Towards a biologically available strontium isotope baseline for Ireland. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, 712, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.136248.
Access StatusAccess this item via the Open Access location
Open Access URLPublished version
Strontium isotopes are used in archaeology, ecology, forensics, and other disciplines to study the origin of artefacts, humans, animals and food items. Strontium in animal and human tissues such as bone and teeth originates from food and drink consumed during life, leaving an isotopic signal corresponding to their geographical origin (i.e. where the plants grew, the animals grazed and the drinking water passed through). To contextualise the measurements obtained directly on animal and human remains, it is necessary to have a sound baseline of the isotopic variation of biologically available strontium in the landscape. In general, plants represent the main source of strontium for humans and animals as they usually contain much higher strontium concentrations than animal products (meat and milk) or drinking water. The observed difference between the strontium isotope composition of geological bedrock, soils and plants from the same locality warrants direct measurement of plants to create a reliable baseline. Here we present the first baseline of the biologically available strontium isotope composition for the island of Ireland based on 228 measurements on plants from 140 distinct locations. The isoscape shows significant variation in strontium isotope composition between different areas of Ireland with values as low as 0.7067 for the basalt outcrops in County Antrim and values of up to 0.7164 in the Mourne Mountains. This variability confirms the potential for studying mobility and landscape use of past human and animal populations in Ireland. Furthermore, in some cases, large differences were observed between different types of plants from the same location, highlighting the need to measure more than one plant sample per location for the creation of BASr baselines.
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