Characterization of archaeological burnt bones: contribution of a new analytical protocol based on derivative FTIR spectroscopy and curve fitting of the ν 1 ν 3 PO4 domain

Lebon, M.; Reiche, I.; Fröhlich, F.; Bahain, J.-J.; Falguères, C.
December 2008
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Dec2008, Vol. 392 Issue 7/8, p1479
Academic Journal
Derivative Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and curve fitting have been used to investigate the effect of a thermal treatment on the ν 1 ν 3 PO4 domain of modern bones. This method was efficient for identifying mineral matter modifications during heating. In particular, the 961, 1022, 1061, and 1092 cm−1 components show an important wavenumber shift between 120 and 700 °C, attributed to the decrease of the distortions induced by the removal of CO32− and HPO42− ions from the mineral lattice. The so-called 1030/1020 ratio was used to evaluate crystalline growth above 600 °C. The same analytical protocol was applied on Magdalenian fossil bones from the Bize–Tournal Cave (France). Although the band positions seem to have been affected by diagenetic processes, a wavenumber index—established by summing of the 961, 1022, and 1061 cm−1 peak positions—discriminated heated bones better than the 1030/1020 ratio, and the splitting factor frequently used to identify burnt bones in an archaeological context. This study suggest that the combination of derivative and curve-fitting analysis may afford a sensitive evaluation of the maximum temperature reached, and thus contribute to the fossil-derived knowledge of human activities related to the use of fire.


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