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Biomolecular archaeology

The aim of the lab is to provide high-resolution data about the life history of animal populations from archaeological and palaeontological assemblages. These include individual demographic parameters (ages, sex), individual dietary patterns, territorial mobility, animal husbandry techniques or hunting strategies. They contribute to provide a better knowledge of human palaeoecology, subsistence and social behavior. The laboratory of 90 m2 counts with two work areas, dedicated to fauna microwear and mesowear analysis, and to biochemical analyses. The space dedicated to tooth wear is equipped with a stereomicroscope (Zeiss Stemi 2000-C), a reference collections of tooth cast of extant large mammals (2600 specimens), and a space to store the molds and casts that were studied from archaeological and palaeontological sites (about 10,000 casts). The larger area of the lab is designed as a sample preparation lab for stable isotope and trace element analyses of archaeological and modern specimens, including bones, teeth, shells, plants, hair/fur, and skin. Bioapatite and bone-collagen samples are currently obtained and treated for IRMS and ICP-MS measures. Grinding, drilling, extraction treatment areas are distributed and separated in the lab.
The lab counts with a work team of technicians, research students (Master and PhD) and permanent researchers who actively participates in research projects carried out and lead at IPHES, Universitat Rovira i Virgili and other academic institutions.