2nd International Congress of Rupestrian Archaeology
2-5 October 1997 DARFO BOARIO TERME
Rock art pigments usually contain naturally occurring iron and manganese oxides and hydroxides. Additionally, organic binders/vehicles can be used, such as: animal fats, plantal juices, bone marrow, blood, eggs, urine, and milk. All of these substances contain among other things the DNA of their organism of origin
Under favourable environmental conditions (dryness, low temperature, etc.) DNA can be preserved for thousands of years. However, after a long period of time DNA will degrade to not more than a couple of hundreds of basepairs. Nevertheless, this can be sufficient for getting quite a lot of genetic information. Either with species-specific or with highly conserved primer-systems the species of origin of an organic component can be determined.
We investigated samples from the Pecos River Stile pictographs (Texas/USA). The rock art samples revealed reproducible plant and bovine signals. The REM- analysis from the surface of the rock art sample shows some plant- and animal-like structures, which obviously do not belong to the original pigment but seem to have been layered upon it at a later point of time. Thus, the DNA-results have to be interpreted cautiously.
Joachim Burger & Birgit Grosskopf
Institut of Anthropology,
Bürgerstrasse 50, 37 0 73 Göttingen,
- Burger J. – Hummel S. – Herrmann B., 1997.Nachweis von DNA-Einzelkopiesequenzen aus prähistorischen Zähnen. Liegemilieu als Faktor für den Erhalt von DNA, “Anthrop. Anz.” 55, 2: 193-198
- Grosskopf B. – Burger J., 1997.Applications of DNA analysis in archaeometry. In: Herrmann, B, Hummel, S.: Ancient DNA IV. Conference 1997, Göttingen: 29
- Hummel S. – Burger J.-Rameckers J.-Lassen C.-Schmerer W.-Herrmann B., 1996. Improvement of short tandem repeat amplifications of highly degraded DNA, “Amplifications”, 1, 14: 5-6
- Hummel S. – Burger J. – Rameckers J. – Lassen C. – Schultes T. – Herrmann B., 1996. DNA typing of highly degraded DNA by multiplex PCR, “Amplifications” 1, 14: 7+20
- Reese R. L. – Hyman M. – Rowe M. W. – Derr J. N. – Davis S. K., 1996. Ancient DNA from Texas Pictographs, “Journal of Archaeological Science”, 23: 269-277.