The stability of bone strontium in the geochemical environment

Donald Pate, Kenneth A. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Past applications of bone chemistry studies to the reconstruction of human paleodiets have been limited by the inability of anthropologists to evaluate successfully the nature of diagenetic alterations of bone in the burial environment. Attempts to assess the postmortem stability of bone strontium are reviewed. A general understanding of the process of fossilization has not been achieved because much previous research resulted in the accumulation of empirical data from particular archeological and fossil sites without explicit reference to models derived from geochemical theory. One promising line of investigation involves the incorporation of geochemical models to isolate specific conditions which promote diagenesis in bone. Understanding these processes will allow the formulation of hypotheses which can be tested at various archeological sites. We stress that this approach is essential to the successful use of trace elements as paleodietary indicators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-491
Number of pages9
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1985
Externally publishedYes


  • bone strontium
  • diagnesis
  • fossil bone
  • hydroxyapatite
  • paleodiet


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