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Mapping dynamic and human-influenced landscapes A critical review on the accuracy of the Dutch Sr isoscape(s)

Thursday 17 June, 4 PM CET

Dr. Lisette M. Kootker

ABSTRACT: Strontium isotope analysis has been successfully applied to reconstruct past mobility patterns for more than three decades. Although the underlying principle may appear to be straightforward, the interpretation of the obtained human or faunal isotope data is complicated, and requires a vast amount of baseline data. Hence, a thorough understanding of the patterns of spatial environmental isotopic variations is key to obtain a full understanding of variations in archaeological samples for migration studies. Following approaches applied to other parts of Europe, a preliminary archaeological bioavailable strontium map of the Netherlands was published in 2016. The diversity of the Dutch geological subsurface is directly reflected in the spatial distribution of 87Sr/86Sr ratios, and six isoscapes or isotope packages could be defined with 87Sr/86Sr ranging from 0.7084 to 0.7113. This presentation covers the sampling and analytical methodology behind of the current archaeological strontium isoscape map and shows the results of an applicability assessment of the map for reconstructing past mobility patterns will be presented. These results show the importance of encompassing all aspects of (pre)historic life, as well as the dynamics of the environment to allow for a more accurate interpretation of human Sr isotope data. Moreover, the effect of the Anthropocene, the proposed new geological era dating from the commencement of significant human impact on Earth's geology and ecosystems, is evident in the current Dutch cultural (natural?) landscape. What will be the consequences for the accuracy of the isoscape 2.0 to be developed, which will be based on modern vegetation?