This proposal seeks to advance the fields of evolutionary genetics and archaeology by considering a new source of ancient genetic material, i.e. food residues absorbed in archaeological ceramic vessels. Ancient DNA analysis is emerging common European research strength and it provides a 4th dimension to the study of evolutionary genetics. The development of methods to recover genetic information from archaeological artefacts would increase the scope of this approach.
The proposed research will evaluate the potential for DNA survival in ceramic vessels by applying the latest methods available at a world-class facility to previously prepared control materials. Through the scheme of research, the applicant will be trained in methods of DNA extraction, amplification and sequence analysis. The work plan will also include training in new methods of quantifying DNA and determining DNA damage. This will result in a comprehensive assessment of survival potential of DNA in ceramic vessels and describe the best methods for their analysis. In the final phase of the project the applicant will be used the derived methods to analyses a range of important archaeological samples. The application of the methods to forensic science will also be assessed.
The period of mobility will provide the opportunity for the transfer of knowledge of residue analysis to laboratories in Italy and Germany who are dedicated to the study of ancient DNA.