Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Identification of the Species of Origin of Residual Blood on Lithic Material

  • D. C. Hyland (a1), J. M. Tersak (a1), J. M. Adovasio (a1) and M. I. Siegel (a1)

The examination of stone-tool edges for blood-antigen residue is a relatively new technique in the archaeological analysis of lithic material. To date, a number of different methods have been employed to determine the species of origin of residual blood, such as Ouchterlony double-diffusion (Ouchterlony 1968) and radioimmunoassays (RIAs) (Lowenstein 1985, 1986). These techniques have been of limited use due to problems of sensitivity, cost, and applicability to archaeological field conditions. Enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) utilizing a nitrocellulose protein-binding membrane have shown that it is possible to retain both specificity and sensitivity in a technique that can endure the rigors of archaeological field work and the vicissitudes of differential preservation (Tersak and Hyland 1988). However, due to cross-reactivity, species identification of blood residue using immunological techniques can be problematic when it is necessary to distinguish individual species within a single genus or family. Recent work has shown that careful refinement of antisera can eliminate cross-reactivity, thereby increasing specificity (Berkeley Antibody Company, personal communication 1987). This refinement is accomplished by absorbing any antibodies from the antisera that may cross-react with antigenic sites held in common by closely related species. The ramifications of the successful implementation of this technique are discussed in terms of Paleoindian artifact function as well as paleoeconomic, paleoenvironmental, and paleodietary reconstruction using a case study from the Shoop site in central Pennsylvania.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

M. J. Allison , A. A. Hossaini , J. Munizaga , and R. Fung 1978 ABO Blood Groups in Chilean and Peruvian Mummies. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 49: 139142.

R. A. Barraco 1978 Preservation of Proteins in Mummified Tissues. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 48: 487492.

D. M. Gurfinkel , and U. M. Franklin 1988 A Study of the Feasibility of Detecting Blood Residue on Artifacts. Journal of Archaeological Science 15: 8397.

J. M. Lowenstein , T. Molleson , and S. L. Washburn 1982 Piltdown Jaw Confirmed as Orang. Nature 299: 294.

T. H. Loy 1983 Prehistoric Blood Residues: Detection on Tool Surfaces and Identification of Species of Origin. Science 220: 12691271.

D. E. Nelson , T. H. Loy , J. S. Vogel , and J. R. Southon 1986 Radiocarbon Dating Blood Residues on Prehistoric Stone Tools. Radiocarbon 28: 170174.

D. W. Oates , C. A. Jochum , K. A. Pearson , and C. A. Hoilien 1983 Field Technique for the Identification of Deer Blood. Journal of Forensic Science 28: 781785.

E. M. Prager , and A. C. Wilson 1980 Mammoth Albumin. Science 209: 287289.

G. F. Sensabaugh , A. C. Wilson , and P. L. Kirk 1971 Protein Stability in Preserved Biological Remains, Parts I and II. International Journal of Biochemistry 2: 545568.

A. Sinclair , and W. Slattery 1982 Identification of Meat According to Species by Isoelectric Focussing. Australian Veterinary Journal 58: 7780.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Abstract views

Total abstract views: 23 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 30th March 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.