Abstract

We determined calcium-to-fluorine (Ca/F) signal ratios at the surface and in the depth dimension in approximately 6000-year-old sheep and cattle bones using Ca I 671.8 and F I 685.6 emission lines. Because the bones had been previously analyzed for collagen preservation quality by measurement of C/N ratios at the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, we were able to examine the correlation between our ratios and quality of preservation. In the bones analyzed in this experiment, the Ca I 671.8/F I 685.6 ratio was generally lower and decreased with successive laser pulses into poorly preserved bones while the ratio was generally higher and increased with successive laser pulses into well-preserved bones. After 210 successive pulses, a discriminator value for this ratio (5.70) could be used to distinguish well-preserved and poorly preserved bones regardless of species.

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