Christophe Snoeck

Christophe Snoeck
Vrije Universiteit Brussel | VUB · Analytical-Environmental-& Geo-Chemistry (AMGC)

PhD Archaeological Science / MEng Chemistry

About

81
Publications
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923
Citations
Additional affiliations
October 2011 - December 2014
University of Oxford
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (81)
Article
RATIONALEStrontium isotopes (87Sr/86Sr) are used in archaeological and forensic science as markers of residence or mobility because they reflect the local geological substrate. Currently, tooth enamel is considered to be the most reliable tissue, but it rarely survives heating so that in cremations only calcined bone fragments survive. We set out t...
Article
Full-text available
Cremated human remains from Stonehenge provide direct evidence on the life of those few select individuals buried at this iconic Neolithic monument. The practice of cremation has, however, precluded the application of strontium isotope analysis of tooth enamel as the standard chemical approach to study their origin. New developments in strontium is...
Article
Strontium isotopes are used in archaeology, ecology, forensics, and other disciplines to study the origin of artefacts, humans, animals and food items. Strontium in animal and human tissues such as bone and teeth originates from food and drink consumed during life, leaving an isotopic signal corresponding to their geographical origin (i.e. where th...
Article
Preventing the inclusion of oxygen bearing compounds from the organic fraction of skeletal tissues is often considered key to obtaining faithful δ¹⁸O measurements of the mineral fraction, which are widely used across the archaeological, forensic and geochemical sciences. Here we re-explore the contentious issue of organic removal pretreatments by e...
Article
Full-text available
The high temperatures reached during cremation lead to the destruction of organic matter preventing the use of traditional isotopic methods for dietary reconstructions. Still, strontium isotope (87 Sr/ 86 Sr) and concentration ([Sr]) analyses of cremated human remains offer a novel way to assess changing consumption patterns in past populations tha...
Article
Full-text available
The Pliocene sedimentary record provides a window into Earth's climate dynamics under warmer-than-present boundary conditions. However, the Pliocene cannot be considered a stable warm climate that constitutes a solid baseline for middle-of-the-road future climate projections. The increasing availability of time-continuous sedimentary archives (e.g....
Poster
Full-text available
The application of incremental enamel sampling on human dental enamel allows researchers to observe how isotopic values may vary over an individual’s early life. For archaeologists, this means we can observe how an individual’s diet and geographical mobility may have changed over time. Currently, incremental isotope studies on human enamel primaril...
Article
Full-text available
Cremated human remains are commonly found in the archaeological records, especially in Europe during the Metal Ages and the Roman period. Due to the high temperatures reached during cremation (up to 1000°C), most biological information locked in the isotopic composition of different tissues is heavily altered or even destroyed. The recent demonstra...
Article
Full-text available
This paper collates previously published data from incremental isotopic studies performed on faunal remains found within the modern boundaries of the United Kingdom (UK). The dataset represents a complete collection of zooarchaeological incremental data from the UK, consisting of 1,092 data points, obtained from 152 faunal specimens from 20 archaeo...
Article
Studies of funerary practices provide information about many aspects of death in past societies. However, only limited archaeological evidence documents the circumstances under which cremations occurred and the person(s) who were performing the funerary rituals. Lying at the border between Atlantic and Continental cultural traditions, the Scheldt a...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Pliocene sedimentary record provides a window into Earth’s climate dynamics under warmer-than-present boundary conditions. However, the Pliocene cannot be considered a stable warm climate that constitutes a solid baseline for middle-road future climate projections. Indeed, the increasing availability of time-continuous sedimentary archives (e.g...
Article
Full-text available
Vitamin D deficiency has hugely impacted the health of past societies. Its identification in skeletal remains provides insights into the daily activities, cultural habits, and the disease load of past populations. However, up till now, this approach remained impossible in cremated bones, because temperatures reached during cremations destroyed all...
Article
Full-text available
Cremation is a complex mortuary practice, involving a number of activities of the living towards the dead before, during, and after the destruction of the bodily soft tissues by fire. The limiting information concerning these behavioral patterns obtained from the pyre remains and/or cremation deposits prevents the reconstruction of the handling of...
Article
The funerary Bronze Age culture in the Belgian part of the Meuse valley is poorly understood due to the challenging nature of cremation deposits that dominate the archaeological record. Only a few sites were analysed in that region, limiting the possibilities to reconstruct the development of Bronze Age populations in Belgium. Due to its good prese...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The CRUMBEL project brings together researchers from three Belgian universities and the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage. The purpose of this collaboration is to study the Belgian archaeological collections of cremated bones dating from the Neolithic till the Merovingian period. Th e project aims to improve knowledge concerning the living cond...
Article
Full-text available
This study aims to better understand the development of group identity, mobility, and health in the Early Medieval Meuse Valley. This is achieved by combining existing demographic and palaeopathological information from 73 cremation deposits from Echt, the Netherlands, with new strontium isotope ratios (⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr) and strontium concentrations ([Sr]...
Article
Objectives This study aims to increase the rate of correctly sexed calcined individuals from archaeological and forensic contexts. This is achieved by evaluating sexual dimorphism of commonly used and new skeletal elements via uni‐ and multi‐variate metric trait analyses. Materials and methods Twenty‐two skeletal traits were evaluated in 86 indivi...
Article
The limestone islands of the Bahamian archipelago provide a challenging environment for human settlement, one that was not taken up until after AD 700. The analysis of human skeletal remains offers new insights into how this challenge was met. A substantial program of AMS ¹⁴C dating on pre-Columbian humans (n = 66) provides a robust chronological f...
Article
Full-text available
Strontium isotope ratios (87 Sr/ 86 Sr) are commonly used in archeological and forensic studies to assess if humans and fauna are local to the place they were found or not. This approach is largely unexplored for wooden artifacts recovered in archeological contexts, as wood-in the rare instances it does survive-is often poorly preserved. One of the...
Article
Studies of funerary practices provide information about many aspects of death in past societies. However, only limited archaeological evidence documents the circumstances under which cremations occurred and the person(s) who were performing the funerary rituals. Lying at the border between Atlantic and Continental cultural traditions, the Scheldt a...
Article
Egyptian blue is a copper-based blue pigment that was widely used across the Mediterranean from ca. 3300 BC up to late antiquity and even later. For this case study, we analyzed the provenance of Egyptian blue from a Campana relief from the collection of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Denmark. Campana reliefs are terracotta plaques, which were named a...
Article
Objectives The Falys–Prangle‐method assesses age‐related morphological changes to the sternal clavicle end (SCE), enabling the observation of mature adults from the 5th decade onwards in unburnt human skeletal remains. The aim of this study is to investigate the applicability of the Falys–Prangle‐method on burnt human remains. Materials and method...
Article
Full-text available
Rationale Strontium isotope analysis can be applied to the calcined human otic capsule in the petrous part (pars petrosa ossis temporalis; PP) to gain information on childhood mobility in archaeological and forensic contexts. However, only a thin layer of the otic capsule, the inner cortex, demonstrates virtually no remodelling. This paper proposes...
Article
Full-text available
The distribution of the first domesticated animals and crops along the coastal area of Atlantic NW Europe, which triggered the transition from a hunter-gatherer-fisher to a farmer-herder economy, has been debated for many decades among archaeologists. While some advocate a gradual transition in which indigenous hunter-gatherers from the very beginn...
Article
Full-text available
The adoption of a new funerary ritual with all its social and cognitive meanings is of great importance to understanding social transformations of past societies. The first known occurrence of cremation in the territory corresponding to modern Belgium dates back to the Mesolithic period. From the end of the Neolithic onward, the practice of cremati...
Article
Full-text available
The Campanian age (Late Cretaceous) is characterized by a warm greenhouse climate with limited land-ice volume. This makes this period an ideal target for studying climate dynamics during greenhouse periods, which are essential for predictions of future climate change due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Well-preserved fossil shells from...
Article
This paper contributes to the current debate regarding the ethno-cultural identity and origins of the post-Archaic (5th to 4th centuries BCE) population of the town of Satricum by introducing bioarchaeologial data including strontium isotope ratios, strontium concentrations, δ¹³C and δ¹⁸O values of tooth enamel, as well as dental morphological trai...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
L’article suivant est un résumé des résultats préliminaires des crémations étudiées dans le cadre du projet CRUMBEL (Crémations, urnes et mobilité, la dynamique du peuplement de la Belgique - Projet EOS N°30999782) qui seront publiés dans une prochaine monographie dédiée au site de Pommeroeul.
Article
We investigated the rate at which endogenous DNA from differently prepared (butchered, boiled and baked) compact pig bones degrades in five different Danish terrestrial and marine environments over a period of 12 months. Although >70% of the estimated endogenous mtDNA is lost after just four weeks of exposure, no cytosine deamination of DNA was obs...
Article
The adsorption of phosphate on hydrated ferric oxide (HFO) was studied in solutions containing major seawater ions (Na⁺, Mg²⁺, Cl⁻, SO4²⁻, Ca²⁺, K⁺) at pHs 6.5, 7.5 and 8.5. The presence of these ions promotes phosphate adsorption and the process is electrostatic in nature. Despite this electrostatic force, the precipitation of hydroxyapatite in th...
Article
Full-text available
The CRUMBEL project aims to investigate the mobility of the former population in Belgium from the Neolithic period until the Early Middle Ages. To reach these research goals different topics will be studied. In a preliminary phase, the ancient collections of cremated bone will be documented. A selection of these funerary sites will be studied to un...
Article
Full-text available
This study presents subdaily resolved chemical records through fossil mollusk shell calcite. Trace element profiles resolve periodic variability across ~40‐μm‐thin daily growth laminae in a Campanian Torreites sanchezi rudist bivalve. These high‐resolution records are combined with seasonally resolved stable isotope and trace element records that a...
Article
Link to paper – https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1aT~D,rVDBRerf This paper presents the results of a study using strontium, oxygen and carbon isotopes, strontium concentrations, infrared analyses and radiocarbon dating to investigate human mobility and landscape use as seen in individuals from the Neolithic court tomb of Parknabinnia, Co. Clare, Ire...
Article
Full-text available
The coexistence of cultural identities and their interaction is a fundamental topic of social sciences that is not easily addressed in prehistory. Differences in mortuary treatment can help approach this issue. Here, we present a multi-isotope study to track both diet and mobility through the life histories of 32 broadly coeval Late Neolithic indiv...
Article
As part of the study of the early medieval cemetery at Broechem (Belgium), human bones from 32 cremation graves have been dated through radiocarbon ( ¹⁴ C) analysis. It was noted that many of the dates were not in accordance with the chronological ranges provided by the characteristics of the cultural artifacts deposited in the graves. In fact, the...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Campanian age (Late Cretaceous) is characterized by a warm greenhouse climate with limited land ice volume. This makes the Campanian an ideal target for the study of climate dynamics during greenhouse periods, which are essential for predictions of future climate change due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Well-preserved fossil shells...
Article
High resolution in situ trace element μXRF maps and profiles were measured on the enamel exposed in cross sections through archaeological human permanent molars from seven Late Neolithic/Early Chalcolithic funerary caves and megalithic graves of north-central Iberia. Changes in concentrations of Fe, Zn and Sr in inward direction into the enamel she...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
If post-cremation life histories of cremains and cremation-related deposits can be readily investigated as they refer to the last handling of the deceased, the treatment of the corpse during the burning act itself is little addressed by textual sources and often discussed in anthropological studies. Among the topics discussed are questions whether...
Article
The hillforts of the Oxfordshire Ridgeway in south-central England have been interpreted as central places in the Early/Middle Iron Age, ca. 600-100 BCE, serving, among other functions, to integrate the management of animals , particularly sheep, between the upland Chalk downs and the adjacent low-lying Vale of the White Horse. Since these landform...
Article
Three early medieval Irish communities within a 30-km radius in Co. Meath, Ireland, have been examined using multiple isotopes (87Sr/86Sr, δ18O, δ13C, δ15N) to elucidate human and domesticated animal subsistence and provenance. Existing 87Sr/86Sr data from geochemical mapping of contemporary soils, plants and streamwater were compared to human and...
Article
There is increasing awareness of the need to correct for freshwater as well as marine reservoir effects when undertaking radiocarbon ( ¹⁴ C) dating of human remains. Here, we explore the use of stable hydrogen isotopes (δ ² H), alongside the more commonly used stable carbon (δ ¹³ C) and nitrogen isotopes (δ ¹⁵ N), for correcting ¹⁴ C freshwater res...
Article
Pelagic carbonate sections constitute common archives for paleoclimatological and stratigraphical research. This study evaluates the use of portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) measurements on pelagic carbonates and applies the method to the well-studied latest Maastrichtian in the Bottaccione Gorge section from Gubbio, Italy. A calibration with carb...
Article
Full-text available
This paper focuses on the material study (radiocarbon dating, wood identification and strontium isotope analyses) of four large ‘India occidentali’ clubs, part of the founding collections of the Ashmolean Museum, in Oxford, and originally part of John Tradescant’s ‘Ark’, in Lambeth (1656). During the seventeenth century, the term ‘India occidentali...
Article
Geochemical mapping of biosphere variation has wide application to geological, environmental, forensic and archaeological research. The extent to which trace elements may be used to complement strontium isotopes (⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr) for biosphere characterisation is unclear and uncertainties exist regarding the most suitable sample media for this purpose. H...