Whilst the main focus of PalaeoChron is the dating of Palaeolithic sites across Eurasia, a number of sub-projects are also funded in the framework of this ERC programme.
These include methodological developments focusing on the development of the Oxford single-amino acid protocol for the radiocarbon dating of contaminated and low-collagen bones and the dating of new materials, such as ostrich eggshell, using more than one radiometric techniques.
With the addition of, at least, 2 PhD students over the lifetime of the project, the range of subjects PalaeoChron investigates will expand further.
SINGLE AMINO ACID DATING
The main focus and largest component of PalaeoChron
The most reliable way to retrieve contaminant-free proteins
More than 100 archaeological sites across Eurasia will be re-visited and (re)dated in the next 5 years, in order to obtain reliable regional and inter-regional chronological frameworks for the Palaeolithic record of the continent .
In collaboration with international colleagues the project also funds and participates in excavations of important archaeological sites.
The Oxford laboratory has been in the forefront of developing and applying a most effective method for removing contaminanation in bone collagen, prior to AMS radiocarbon dating.
PalaeoChron will continue this work and extend it towards new directions.
DATING OF OSTRICH EGGSHELL
A great archive for establishing age and reconstructing past climate
Ostrich eggshell has been used in Africa, Arabia and Asia since at least 60-70,000 years ago and this material offers a very useful substrate for dating open-air sites and reconstructing palaeoclimate, e.g. by establishing past temperatures using oxygen isotopes.
One of the PalaeoChron projects aims at better understanding the material and its potential for dating Palaeolithic contexts, both within the radiocarbon limit and beyond it by using alternative radiometric methods, such as U-series dating.
ZooMS: MOLECULAR FINGERPRINTING
A fast and efficient way to identify animal species diversity and fragmented human remains
The identification of fragmented archaeological remains to genus or species level is made possible by the use of ZooMS method developed by PalaeoChron team member, Dr. Mike Buckley.
Tiny, unidentified bone fragments from archaeological sites can be tested for their peptide barcode to allow the identification of species. Animal diversity and possible human remains can be screened and identified from archaeological assemblages using this method.