PalaeoChron welcomed Dr Claire Heckel from Toulouse Université to Oxford. We are collaborating with Claire and Harald Floss on the dating of the important sites in the Germolles complex. The site features a sequence of Mousterian to Aurignacian levels. Claire works on ivory and bone ornaments and some of these items are on our list of samples for AMS dating.
The sampling of these items is challenging, of course, owing to their small size and archaeological value, so we have to proceed carefully.
Once more we are using keyhole methods of taking the minimal amounts of bone powder we need for a date. As you can see in the images below, we are able to take a tiny drill measuring 1.5-2mm across to these precious obejcts, reducing external damage significantly. Fortunately, the material from the site appears very well preserved, reducing again the sample size requirements.
Claire gave a talk on her work to the Pal-Quat seminar group here in Oxford called "Ornaments in Aurignacian Economies: The view from Aquitaine". Really fascinating talk and stimulating discussion afterwards at the White Rabbit!