The Archaeological and Anthropological Society of Victoria is a group that promotes the study of archaeology, anthropology, ethno-archaeology and ethno-history in both Australia and further abroad. Lectures, from a range of talented presenters, are held every third Thursday of the month at 6:30pm at the The Kathleen Syme Library & Community Centre – 251 Faraday St, Carlton.
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 Next Lecture – Thursday 17th of October, 2019.

Investigating Ancient Proteins Using Liquid Chromatography-Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry

Presented by Dr Colin Smith
Associate Professor, Department of Archaeology and History,
La Trobe University

Stable isotope analysis is a well-established tool in archaeological and geochemical science, used to interpret palaeodietary preferences and aspects of palaeoenvironment. In archaeology this commonly involves isotope analysis of carbon and nitrogen from proteins that have remarkably survived for hundreds to tens of thousands of years and such analysis has informed us about major dietary changes in the past. In my lab we have been searching for new ways to investigate stable isotope signatures in these ancient proteins and other organic materials, using Liquid Chromatography Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry. In this talk I will discuss some of the research that we have been conducting in the lab ranging from the analysis of mummified hairs to organic remains trapped in stalagmites.

Colin Smith studied Archaeological Science, Analytical Chemistry, and a PhD in Geochemistry in the UK, and has since conducted research at the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (Madrid), in Uppsala and Stockholm Universities, Durham University and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig). He has been an ARC Future Fellow and currently runs the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory at La Trobe University, a collaborative space for staff and students to study ancient biomolecules. His most recent research has focused on the application of stable isotope analysis to ancient proteins with a particular interest in analyzing them at the amino acid level. Through his research he has made significant contributions to the field of biomolecular archaeology, ancient biomolecules and stable isotope analysis, having published in Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) among other journals.


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