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ARCHAEOBOTANY  March 2008

ARCHAEOBOTANY March 2008

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Subject:

Re: DNA analysis of charred material

From:

Nic Dolby <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The archaeobotany mailing list <[log in to unmask]>, Nic Dolby <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 10 Mar 2008 20:22:37 +1100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Bea

In Japan they traditionally coagulated soymilk to make tofu with Nigari,
known in English as Bittern, predominantly magnesium chloride. I
understood that bittern/nigari is the salt residues after the extraction
of table salt/sodium chloride from sea-water. I don't know the
procedures for this, but I suggest that the literature around
traditional and contemporary manufacturing of table salt from sea-water
may provide further insights into the process
nic

Beatrice Hopkinson wrote:
> 
> Discussions on this list, like the one below, frequently trigger my
> thinking
> with regard to my work on prehistoric salt sites.  There is a well known
> ash process widely used in the salt industry in many countries.  That is
> halophylic plants, coconut husks, peat and wood are burned and seawater
> poured through this ash to increase the salt concentration of seawater in
> order to make it economic to boil.  I recently discovered there is a
> reaction taking place in the ash which preciptates much of the magnesium
> in seawater to make the salt more fit for use, and I am wondering if some
> on the list might have some thoughts on this.
> 
> with thanks and best wishes,
> 
> Bea
> 
> >Dear colleagues,
> >
> >Jay's reacton triggered a latent part of my memory! Freek Braadbaart has
> >investigated the chemical and physical aspects of carbonisation in cereals
> >and pulses. He charred material arteficially in a muffle furnace at
> >different temperatures and at different heating rates. One of his main
> >conclusions was that already at low temperatures, all proteins are
> >converted into aromatics (benzene; cyclo-hexane). The material is even
> >still brownish at these temperatures. There are much higher temperatures
> >needed to arrive at the black material we usually find as charred plant
> >remains. A recent publication of Freek can be found in VHA 17.1, including
> >graphs with temperatures.
> >
> >If we take these observations into account, it should be impossible to
> >retreive ancient DNA in charred archaeological material, as this is a
> >chain of essentially four different proteins. I wonder whether researchers
> >of DNA from charred remains have ever considered the implications of
> >Freek's observations, or whether there are good arguments in pro of
> >preservation of charred archaeological DNA.
> >
> >I would very much like to provide desiccated material as Jay requests, but
> >unfortunately we don't have the appropriate preservation conditions for
> >that in the Netherlands. But, Jay,  if waterlogged material, e.g. from
> >medieval cesspits, would also be a possible source of DNA, please mail me,
> >I can supply material of many globular Brassicaceae (Brassica, Raphanus,
> >Sinapis) in that case (although Sinapis alba will be impossible in larger
> >numbers, these are found only very occasionally). The morphologically
> >based identification of Raphanus sativus for the Roman Period by Janneke
> >Buurman would be one of the ideal (but waterlogged...) targets!
> >
> >With kind regards,
> >
> >oTTo
> >
> >
> >
> >DISCLAIMER:
> >De informatie verzonden met dit e-mail bericht is uitsluitend bestemd voor
> >de geadresseerde. Openbaarmaking, vermenigvuldiging, verspreiding en/of
> >verstrekking aan derden is niet toegestaan. Aan berichten via e-mail
> >kunnen geen rechten ontleend worden. Gebruik van deze informatie door
> >anderen dan de geadresseerde is verboden. U wordt verzocht bij onjuiste
> >adressering de afzender direct te informeren door het bericht te retourneren.
> >
> 
> Hon. Secretary Los Angeles Branch, Oxford University Society
> AIA Board member, Los Angeles,
> UCLA Institute of Archaeology Associate

-- 
Nic Dolby

School of Geography & Environmental Science
Monash University
CLAYTON, VIC., 3800
Tel. (work): +61-3-9905-2919 (or School Office +61-3-9905-2910)
Fax: +61-3-9905-2948
Email: [log in to unmask]

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