Different dating methods archaeology
The term “microbiome” isn’t yet two decades old but it is already clear that these communities have a profound impact on human health.
In addition to critical roles in oral and digestive health, the microbiome has been associated in some way with everything from mood disorders to cardiovascular disease, from autism to rheumatoid arthritis, not to mention countless infectious diseases.
“If you don’t understand that it exists, then you can’t understand its power.” When Courtney Hofman, a researcher at the LMAMR who has since joined the full-time faculty there, begins the DNA extraction process, the first thing that registers is the sound.
She takes a dental scaler to a 2,000-year-old tooth from Spain and produces the raspy scratching and resonant clinks familiar to anyone who’s had their teeth thoroughly cleaned.
Hofman does the same with a few more teeth, wiping everything down between each step to limit the possibility of contamination. Each sample goes into a tiny vial to be decontaminated with UV light, and is then crushed, rinsed, and demineralized, leaving behind a gauzy pellet.The microbiome is a key point of contact between humans and the world around them.It is affected by—and therefore may reflect—changes in how we manipulate our environments and in what we consume. The Neolithic Revolution, for example, saw the rise of agriculture and settlement.The largest ancient DNA laboratory in the United States sits behind a heavy steel door in a plain service hallway at the University of Oklahoma.
Inside, researchers find, extract, isolate, and amplify DNA molecules and proteins, producing voluminous mounds of data that can address grand, complex questions about migration, diet, and human health—in the deep past and today. They’re encountering the advantages and pitfalls of interdisciplinary science.And they’re writing the first drafts of a new chapter in archaeological research.