To evaluate the possibility of obtaining detailed individual mobility data from archaeological teeth, the strontium isotope ratios on 28 human teeth from three separate Early-Mid Holocene, Swedish, foraging contexts (Norje Sunnansund, Skateholm and Västerbjers) were analysed through laser ablation. The teeth/individuals have previously been analysed using traditional bulk sampled thermal ionisation mass spectrometry. To validate the conclusions regarding the archaeological teeth, a tooth from a modern man with a known background was also analysed. The result shows that all of the teeth display less than 0.4% discrepancy between the mean values of the laser ablation profiles and the previously published bulk data and 25 (89%) of the teeth display less than a 0.2% discrepancy. By calculating linear and polynomial trendlines for each ablated tooth, it was possible to illustrate a strong correlation for the transition pattern between the measurements when following a chronological sequence from the tip to the cervix. Such correlations were not reproduced when the data sequence was randomized. The analyses show that the chronologically sequenced ablation data fit with a transition between local bioavailable strontium regions, that the measurements do not fluctuate between extremes and that their values are not caused by end-member mixing. This indicates an increasing data resolution when reducing strontium isotope ratio averaging time by minimizing the sampling area. The results suggest strontium incorporation in human teeth can be measured on an ordinal scale, with a traceable chronological order to enamel mineralization when sampled from tip to cervix at an equal distance from the surface. Micro-sampling enamel is considered a valid method to assess prehistoric, but not modern, human mobility; laser ablation technology increases the amount of information obtained from a single tooth while rendering minimal damage to the studied specimen.
- Historia och arkeologi