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Ancient human bones studied and compared by near infrared spectroscopy, thermogravimetry and chemometrics

Abstract : Near infrared spectroscopy and thermogravimetry have been coupled with chemometric exploratory methods in order to investigate ancient (pre-Roman/Roman) human bones from two different necropolises in Central-South Italy (Cavo degli Zucchi and Elea Velia). These findings have been investigated by principal component analysis and they have also been compared with ancient human bones from two Sudanese necropolises (Saggai and Geili). Samples coming from African and European necropolises, mainly differ in two aspects: the burial procedures and their historical period. The ritual applied in the European region involved cremation, while the one applied in the African necropolises did not. Bones from Italian sites (Cavo degli Zucchi and Elea Velia) are Pre-Roman/Roman while the others (from middle Nile) come from the Prehistoric, Meroitic, and Christian Sudanese age. Near infrared spectroscopy and thermogravimetric measures have been analysed either individually or by a mid-level data-fusion approach. Principal component analysis of the near infrared spectroscopy data allowed differentiation between burnt and unburnt samples, while from the scores plots extracted from the principal component analysis model based on the entire derived thermograms, it was possible to recognize the different clusters related to the various dating of samples. The data-fusion analysis led to considerations similar to those obtained from the model based on thermogravimetry data. Finally, instead of inspecting the entire thermogravimetry curves, principal component analysis was carried out on carbonates, total collagen and water losses only. In this case, the data-fusion approach has led to extremely interesting results; in fact, this model clearly shows that samples group in separate clusters in agreement with their age and the different burial rituals.
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Contributor : Migration Irstea Publications <>
Submitted on : Friday, June 11, 2021 - 12:06:21 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 7, 2021 - 3:55:03 PM


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A. Biancolillo, M. Tomassetti, R. Bucci, S. Izzo, F. Candilio, et al.. Ancient human bones studied and compared by near infrared spectroscopy, thermogravimetry and chemometrics. Journal of Near Infrared Spectroscopy, NIR Publications, 2019, 27 (1), ⟨10.1177/0967033518819417⟩. ⟨hal-02608318⟩



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