for all of you interested in ancient plant DNA, I am pleased to
suggest to consult the review of Schlumbaum, Tensen and
Jaenicke-Deprès 2008, Veg Hist Archbot 17, 233-244, which is a review
on what has been done in ancient plant DNA with some future added! and
indeed charred seeds are still a major challenge though much wanted.
Rachel Giles working with Terry Brown in Manchester has done DNA
suvival experiments in artificial charred wheat grains, I guess
results should be published soon or those of you interested contact
In our experience waterlogged seeds are promising, although few
experiments have been done so far and we found successful DNa
retrieval in "hard-shelled" seeds such as Prunus, Vitis, we have been
at IPNA also successful with apple, so far unpublished. And there are
reports about waterlogged melon, millets, or olives etc. from others.
contact me by email directly, if you wish further information or the
pdf of our publication
Zitat von "Brinkkemper, Otto" <[log in to unmask]>:
> 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,
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Dr. Angela Schlumbaum
University of Basel
Institute of Prehistory and Archaeological Science
CH 4055 Basel
Tel: 0041 61 2010218
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