Isotope Analysis Methods In order to investigate stable isotopes from human and animal bones, a very small sample of bone is needed for the analysis.
Due to advances in accelerated mass spectrometry (AMS) a small sample which can range from 200 milligrams to 1gram of bone can be used.
The mass spectrometer works by measuring the masses and relative concentrations of atoms and molecules.
Long and short term changes in climate can have a dramatic impact on the ways in which people may procure or produce their food.Variation and adaptation in subsistence (or diet) can be stimulated by developments in socio-political and economic circumstances, as well as by climate and ecological transitions and even by individual choice. Changes in diet within a particular community can occur at both large and small scales, as well as rapidly or gradually over time. Stable and Radiogenic Isotopes in Biological Archaeology: Some Applications. Isotopes and the Study of Diet The study of the diet of prehistoric peoples is an essential part of understanding how past communities were able to survive and adapt within particular environmental and social settings.The investigation of past diet or paleodiet provides clues as to how our ancestors made use of natural resources and even how they modified their own environments in order to produce food.When archaeological bone material is poorly preserved there may not be enough surviving biological material left for the analysis to be reliable.