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  Distinguishing African bovids using Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS): new peptide markers and insights into Iron Age economies in Zambia

Janzen, A., Richter, K. K., Mwebi, O., Brown, S., Onduso, V., Gatwiri, F., et al. (2021). Distinguishing African bovids using Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS): new peptide markers and insights into Iron Age economies in Zambia. PLoS One, 16(5): e0251061. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0251061.

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(last seen: June 2021)

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 Creators:
Janzen, Anneke1, Author              
Richter, Kristine Korzow1, Author              
Mwebi, Ogeto, Author
Brown, Samantha1, Author              
Onduso, Veronicah, Author
Gatwiri, Filia, Author
Ndiema, Emmanuel1, Author
Katongo, Maggie, Author
Goldstein, Steven T.1, Author              
Douka, Katerina1, Author              
Boivin, Nicole1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2074312              

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Free keywords: Archaeology, Collagens, Cattle, Mammals, Osteology, Taxonomy, Domestic animals, Zambia
 Abstract: Assessing past foodways, subsistence strategies, and environments depends on the accurate identification of animals in the archaeological record. The high rates of fragmentation and often poor preservation of animal bones at many archaeological sites across sub-Saharan Africa have rendered archaeofaunal specimens unidentifiable beyond broad categories, such as “large mammal” or “medium bovid”. Identification of archaeofaunal specimens through Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS), or peptide mass fingerprinting of bone collagen, offers an avenue for identification of morphologically ambiguous or unidentifiable bone fragments from such assemblages. However, application of ZooMS analysis has been hindered by a lack of complete reference peptide markers for African taxa, particularly bovids. Here we present the complete set of confirmed ZooMS peptide markers for members of all African bovid tribes. We also identify two novel peptide markers that can be used to further distinguish between bovid groups. We demonstrate that nearly all African bovid subfamilies are distinguishable using ZooMS methods, and some differences exist between tribes or sub-tribes, as is the case for Bovina (cattle) vs. Bubalina (African buffalo) within the subfamily Bovinae. We use ZooMS analysis to identify specimens from extremely fragmented faunal assemblages from six Late Holocene archaeological sites in Zambia. ZooMS-based identifications reveal greater taxonomic richness than analyses based solely on morphology, and these new identifications illuminate Iron Age subsistence economies c. 2200–500 cal BP. While the Iron Age in Zambia is associated with the transition from hunting and foraging to the development of farming and herding, our results demonstrate the continued reliance on wild bovids among Iron Age communities in central and southwestern Zambia Iron Age and herding focused primarily on cattle. We also outline further potential applications of ZooMS in African archaeology.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-05-18
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: 36
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: Introduction
Faunal identifications and key research questions
ZooMS in African archaeology
Materials & methods
Collagen extraction and digestion
Peptide mass fingerprinting
LC-MS/MS
Biomarker identification and confirmation
Identification of archaeological samples
Results and discussion
- Data quality control
- Distinguishing among bovid groups
Comparison with published markers
ZooMS analysis and archaeofaunal identifications
Herding economies and the persistence of hunting in Iron Age Zambia
Conclusion
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0251061
Other: shh2943
 Degree: -

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Title: PLoS One
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: San Francisco, CA : Public Library of Science
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 16 (5) Sequence Number: e0251061 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1932-6203
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1000000000277850