Preservation of Organic Molecules in Archaeological Time

Geochemical Insights

Controversy in molecular paleontology centers around issues of molecular durability, contamination, and the diagenetic pathways involved in the survival of labile molecules such as carbohydrates. In collaboration with the Mercader group (Archaeology), we are applying the tools of molecular biogeochemistry, especially GCMS and  FTMS methods, to the study of starch and other carbohydrate survival in archaeological materials. We are especially looking at refractory carbohydrate degradation products as plausible archaeological proxy species.

We are also looking at the biogeochemical environments at Olduvai gorge Tanzania and have a project looking at the archaeology of malaria.