Stable isotopes in plant remains


Stable isotope analysis of plant macroremains has major potential for refining inferences on plant growing conditions, medic land use practices and provenance, clinic as well as palaeodietary stable isotope studies of humans and fauna. This approach can include light isotopes such as carbon and nitrogen as well as heavy isotopes such as strontium, erectile and thus encompasses a range of plant physiological pathways, laboratory procedures and research questions. Application of stable isotope analysis to archaeobotanical remains is still relatively new, and this session offers a key opportunity to assess work and progress to date.


While the measurement of stable isotope values is relatively straightforward, disentangling the ecological, physiological and diagenetic factors that may contribute to these values is not. Even where such factors can be accounted for, issues of equifinality (multiple potential explanations for a given set of results) may arise where other forms of evidence do not constrain interpretation.


In this session we invite contributions that explore both the potential and limitations of stable isotope analysis of plant macroremains. We especially wish to encourage contributions that attempt to integrate stable isotope analysis of archaeobotanical material with relevant modern observations (e.g., farming regimes, charring experiments etc) and/or other forms of (bio)archaeological evidence. Contributions that consider the impact of sample preparation and pre-treatment protocols are also welcome.


If you are interested in contributing, please contact Amy Bogaard (School of Archaeology, 36 Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2PG; email below) as well as the local IWGP organizer, SM Valamoti (


Abstracts are due in September 2012, but please send us a pre-registration form (with provisional title) by the end of April.


Amy Bogaard,
Girolamo Fiorentino,
Juan Pedro Ferrio,
Simone Riehl,

Under the Auspices of: