UKAS 2024

April 2024

This April, the BB-LAB travelled to York for the 2024 UK Archaeological Sciences conference. UKAS is always an amazing opportunity to meet fellow archaeological scientists, and hear about the latest research. Besides enjoying fascinating talks, good food at the beautiful Merchant Adventurers’ Hall and walking through the historical city, they showcased recent work coming out of the BB-LAB via two presentations and five posters!

Dr. Hannah James presented ‘Stronti-YUM: Exploring radiogenic and stable strontium isotope ratios and concentrations’. Her talk highlighted the potential of a triple strontium method involving δ88Sr to reconstruct diet from cremated remains. For her work, she received the ‘Game Changer’ award – so watch this space!

Our other presenter, Rachèl Spros, touched on ‘The effect of a change in food availability during the 14th century’. Her research examined how people reacted to changes in food sources in medieval Ypres (Belgium), and how this is reflected in their diet. This work involved an interdisciplinary approach using historical sources and carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis.

BB Lab Team


The other five BB-LAB members at UKAS presented posters and raised critical questions. For example – how much tea would one have to consume for it to influence strontium levels? The answer: a lot. Emma Legrand’s experimental study looked at different teas and brewing processes, and their influence on overall strontium levels.

BB-Lab first CRIME-travel after long pandemic break

September 14, 2021

Finally after several lockdowns and delays due to the pandemic some of the BB-labbers were able to travel outside of Belgium again. 

The CRIME project focuses on the research of prehistoric funeral rituals and their changes in Slovenia. A large part of the project is the preparation of a map of biologically available strontium for Slovenia. During the brief visit from September 1th to September 5th, the BB-labbers Steven Goderis, Christophe Snoeck, Charlotte Sabaux and Carina Gerritzen visited the research team in Slovenia from the University of Ljubljana, and the Jožef Stefan Institute, to plan the future sampling strategy and other project related collaborations.

It was a great opportunity to strengthen the bonds between the two research teams. Within just two days the team managed to sample a large amount of their first Slovenian plants for Sr-Isotope analysis.

Solène Chevallier’s poster transported the viewer to the Seine-Yonne region (France). She mapped the bioavailable strontium baseline for her site dating to the Bronze Age, and, based on this, she was able to identify two groups of people who derived food sources from different areas in the catchment.

With a poster focussing on Slovenia, Carina Gerritzen demonstrated how useful a triple strontium approach involving δ⁸⁸Sr can be when comparing archaeological humans and animals to the environment.

Jacob Griffith presented his research on Late Neolithic/Chalcolithic Spain. He used sequential multi-isotope sampling (carbon, nitrogen and strontium) to reconstruct individual lifeways, featuring a detailed exploration of diet, mobility and weaning patterns.

Last but not least, our very own Dr. Emese Végh explored diagenesis with her poster. She experimentally tested how cremated bone takes up elements post-cremation using µ-XRF. Emese’s work provides us with a better understanding of elemental exchanges with the environment, and therefore it is no surprise that she left UKAS 2024 with the ERC Best Poster Prize!

Thanks to the organisers for a great conference, and we look forward to the next UKAS conference!

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