Starch Granules, Dental Calculus and New Perspectives on Ancient Diet

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Starch Granules, Dental Calculus and New Perspectives on Ancient Diet

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Title: Starch Granules, Dental Calculus and New Perspectives on Ancient Diet
Author: Hardy, Karen; Blakeney, Tony; Copeland, Les; Kirkham, Jennifer; Wrangham, Richard W.; Collins, Matthew

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Citation: Hardy, Karen, Tony Blakeney, Les Copeland, Jennifer Kirkham, Richard W. Wrangham, Matthew Collins. 2009. Starch granules, dental calculus and new perspectives on ancient diet. Journal of Archeological Science 36(2): 248-255.
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Abstract: Recent work in various parts of the world has suggested the possibility of ancient starch granules surviving and adhering to archaeological artefacts. Often this information is used to infer aspects of diet.
One additional source for recovery of archaeological starch granules is dental calculus. The presence of plant food debris in dental calculus is well known but has not been not widely investigated using archaeological material. The extraction of starch granules from dental calculus represents a direct link to the consumption of starchy food by humans or animals. Using dental calculus also sidesteps many other questions still inherent in using starch granules to reconstruct aspects of ancient diet, such as the effects of diagenesis on their morphology; as the starches are trapped inside a concreted matrix they are less likely to alter over time. We used amylase digestion by a starch-specific enzyme to confirm the material as starch.
Published Version: doi:10.1016/j.jas.2008.09.015
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:3716617
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