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M. P. Richards a, and R. E. M. Hedges b. Variations in bone collagen delta13C and delta15N values of fauna from Northwest Europe over the last 40000 years. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 193(2): 261-267.
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a Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD7 1DP, UK
b Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, 6 Keble Road, Oxford, OX1 3QJ, UK
We report here a signal in the temporal variation of stable isotopes in protein from surviving animal bone in Northwest Europe over the past glacial cycle. There is a change in the average delta13C values of fauna in the Holocene, and there is also a significant reduction in delta15N values of herbivore bone collagen towards the end of the last glaciation, with a subsequent recovery soon after the start of the Holocene. This change is observed for several species and is restricted to those regions most affected by the glacial advance. Comparison with ice core data shows that there is a strong correlation between the average delta13C values of three herbivore species and ice core CO2 concentration. The data presented here show how readily available faunal bone collagen delta13C and delta15N measurements provide a record of past climate and environmental change on a regional to continental scale.
Author Keywords: palaeoclimate; stable isotopes; delta13C; delta15N; palaeoenvironments; archaeology; Europe