Bioarchaeology and Stable Isotope Research Lab

The Vanderbilt Bioarchaeology Stable Isotope Research Lab (BSIRL) prepares bone and dental samples from humans and animals and plants from various archaeology sites in the Americas, primarily from Peru, Bolivia, and Guatemala, where many of our faculty and graduate students conduct research. We prepare bone collagen for carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses, bone apatite (carbonates) for carbon and oxygen, and dental apatite (carbonates) for carbon and oxygen. These prepared samples are then shipped to the University of Wyoming Stable Isotope Facility for processing.

Tung and her colleagues and graduate students are conducting these stable isotope analyses primarily to address questions about ancient dietary practices and secondarily to investigate migration patterns of ancient populations from the Americas. The oxygen isotope data are also used to aid in reconstructing the climate from the eras to which the human/animal samples belonged.

Kristina Lee adding HCl to archaeological bone samples.

The Bioarchaeology and Stable Isotope Research Lab is housed in the Stevenson Center on the Vanderbilt University campus.

Beautiful collagen from archaeological human bone from the site of Huari in Ayacucho, Peru.

The Open House for the Biological Anthropology Lab, which includes BSIRL (PI: Tung) and the Laboratory of Genetic Anthropology and Biocultural Studies (PI: Benn Torres).