Monday, 15 December 2008
BioArCh team members have discovered that cooking may not be as bad as thought for old DNA. Claudio Ottoni of the University of Rome, lead a study which investigated early Medieval cattle bones from York discovered that the more cooked the bones were the better was the DNA preservation. See report in New Scientist or the full article in Naturwissenschaften (DOI: 10.1007/s00114-008-0478-5).
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Someone on the new campus has finally been found with a brain... and BioArCh scientists are planning to analyse it. A team from the York Archaeological Trust unearthed the brain in an Iron Age skull. Ancient brain, scientists in white coats, old building, dark winter nights..... For full details see the BBC website.
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
David Harker and Ben Elliot have both been awarded Charles Wellbeloved prizes by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society for their outstanding undergraduate dissertations of 2008. Both David and Ben gave short presentations in which they outlined their work.
David's work titled Making thermal age accessible using web based applications, introduced a novel approach for predicting the preservation of biomolecules. Algorithms based on thermal models, obtained from published databases, were used to predict the preservation of DNA in particular. The predicted thermal age was found to closely correlate to published values from real samples. This web-based application is helpful in deciding whether specimens are suitable for further research. The DNA Recovery Rate Calculator (DRRC) can be accessed here.
Ben's presentation, Is there evidence for barbed point manufacturing at Star Carr?, revisited the material from this Mesolithic site, and focussed on the manufacture of barbed points made from antlers. He carried out experimental work to mimic the production process using authentic tools. The debitage produced was compared to the remains found at the site to try to determine whether Star Carr was indeed a production site for these barbed points.
Well done and congratulations to both!
As we will miss her at the Christmas party, Luisa invited everyone for a drink at the Mason Arms. She will return to us in mid-January after her viva.
Luisa, good luck with the final hurdle and have a happy holiday!
Thursday, 4 December 2008
Saturday, 8 November 2008
Friday, 31 October 2008
BioArCh hosted a visit from the Institute for Geo- and Bioarchaeology to celebrate five years since its foundation in 2003. IGBA is a multidisciplinary research group applying analytical methods from the Earth and Life Sciences to archeological problems. Together with members of the Department of Archaeology the two groups hosted an afternoon seminar followed by a meal and drinks. The next day IGBA members visited archaeological sites in York.
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Karen will be setting up her starch research at UAB, but will remain working with BioArCh
Her new address is
ICREA Research Professor, Profesora de Investigación ICREA
Departament de Prehistòria
Facultat de Filosofia i Lletres.
Telf.: 00 34 93 581 4333
mob. 00 44 7809 766 164
Fax. : 00 34 93 581 1140
Friday, 17 October 2008
Hannah Koon's work was one of the highlights of report in this weeks Science (17 October 2008), in a report by John Travis on the 3rd International Symposium on Biomolecular Archaeology conference which was hosted by BioArCh this year in York. If you want to know more please see below.
ARCHAEOLOGY: Old Bones Reveal New Signs of Scurvy John Travis
Science 17 October 2008: 368-369.
Summary: At the Third International Symposium on Biomolecular Archaeology, researchers described a new way to detect more subtle signs of scurvy in ancient bones. Full Text »