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Selenium in skeletal remains

Authors

  • V. Smrčka,

    Corresponding author
    1. First Medical Faculty, Institute for the History of Medicine and Foreign Languages, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
    • First Medical Faculty, Institute for the History of Medicine and Foreign Languages, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.
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  • A. Edriss,

    1. First Medical Faculty, Institute for the History of Medicine and Foreign Languages, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
    2. First Medical Faculty, Department of Plastic Surgery, Faculty Teaching Hospital Bulovka, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
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  • V. Korunová,

    1. Institute of Analytical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences of Czech Republic v.v.i., Prague, Czech Republic
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  • M. Dobisíková,

    1. Department of Anthropology, National Museum, Prague, Czech Republic
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  • J. Zocová

    1. Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Science, Prague, Czech Republic
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Abstract

Contents of selenium (Se) were determined in human skeletal remains of prehistoric populations by in situ trapping of Se hydride by ET AAS (atomic absorption spectrometry with electrothermal atomisation). Dr Korunová worked out a method of determination of Se in preparation. The method of determination of Se was verified by means of radioactive indicator 75Se incorporated in the tissues of laboratory animals. Detection limit of the method was 23 pg Se.

Se is another element suitable for dietary reconstruction in past populations as it relates to the consumption of meat in a similar way to zinc. Through the analysis of Se, we were able to distinguish between Eneolithic archaeological cultures (Corded Ware ceramic, Bell Beaker culture) and Bronze Age cultures (Protounětice, Starounětice, Unětice cultures).

Significant differences were found in the levels of Se in the bones of individuals derived from the Bell Beaker and Uneětice Cultures, to the 95% confidence interval. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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