Title

Ancient DNA Extraction from Stone Tools

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

There is often debate between archeologists regarding what lithics recovered from ancient sites were used for. Ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis of such tools can begin to address if they were used to process specific species of animals. We in the Modern and Ancient DNA labs at UMT have attempted an extraction of aDNA from micro-fissures in stone tool technology from the Bridge River Excavation site in the Middle Fraser Canyon, British Columbia The site was occupied periodically from 1800 years ago to the mid-19th century (Prentiss et al. 2008). Excavation and analysis was completed by UM Professor Anna Prentiss and has been an ongoing project. The protocol to extract and amplify any aDNA locked in the cracks involves treating the tools with chemicals and sonication, as well as normal DNA amplifying and sequencing procedure (Shanks et al. 2005). While part of my project entailed perfecting the methodology for DNA extraction, the main hypothesis behind my research is: Hypothesis: The potential for extracting DNA from archaeologically recovered lithics will enable me to identify the species on which they were used.

Bridge River researchers have designated the tools as used in “food processing or tool manufacturing” (Prentiss 2014), yet our analyses could connect the tools with specific species such as elk or deer, and provide an interesting new avenue of investigation. To date, we have worked on eleven stone tools from the Bridge River site and extracted bacterial DNA from two of the samples. Though we cannot directly tie the bacterial DNA to ancient use of the tools, we intend to learn as much as we can from our results and continue to strive for a robust animal aDNA sample that will allow us to understand how these tools were utilized at the Bridge River Site.

Category

Humanities

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Apr 28th, 3:00 PM Apr 28th, 4:00 PM

Ancient DNA Extraction from Stone Tools

UC South Ballroom

There is often debate between archeologists regarding what lithics recovered from ancient sites were used for. Ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis of such tools can begin to address if they were used to process specific species of animals. We in the Modern and Ancient DNA labs at UMT have attempted an extraction of aDNA from micro-fissures in stone tool technology from the Bridge River Excavation site in the Middle Fraser Canyon, British Columbia The site was occupied periodically from 1800 years ago to the mid-19th century (Prentiss et al. 2008). Excavation and analysis was completed by UM Professor Anna Prentiss and has been an ongoing project. The protocol to extract and amplify any aDNA locked in the cracks involves treating the tools with chemicals and sonication, as well as normal DNA amplifying and sequencing procedure (Shanks et al. 2005). While part of my project entailed perfecting the methodology for DNA extraction, the main hypothesis behind my research is: Hypothesis: The potential for extracting DNA from archaeologically recovered lithics will enable me to identify the species on which they were used.

Bridge River researchers have designated the tools as used in “food processing or tool manufacturing” (Prentiss 2014), yet our analyses could connect the tools with specific species such as elk or deer, and provide an interesting new avenue of investigation. To date, we have worked on eleven stone tools from the Bridge River site and extracted bacterial DNA from two of the samples. Though we cannot directly tie the bacterial DNA to ancient use of the tools, we intend to learn as much as we can from our results and continue to strive for a robust animal aDNA sample that will allow us to understand how these tools were utilized at the Bridge River Site.