Ian Scharlotta


Ian Scharlotta (Fraser-Shapiro) was recently awarded a 2-year Postdoctoral position at Laboratoire Mediterranéen de Préhistoire Europe Afrique (LAMPEA) to investigate variation in prehistoric hunter-gatherer behaviour. More specifically, the focus of the position is to examine archaeological materials from middle Holocene hunter-gatherer groups from the Lake Baikal region in Siberia, Russia as part of the BHAP directed by Dr. Andrzej Weber.

Ian will be integrating some of the latest microsampling techniques to recover dietary isotopic information using tooth roots excavated from sites Shamanka and Lokomotiv on Lake Baikal. He will be looking at a combination of individual dietary variation and weaning patterning as a result of this type of microsampling. It will augment the work that Ian did while at the University of Alberta and that Dr. Weber has been focusing on more in the last few years with dietary reconstructions.

Ian comes to us from California State University, Long Beach, California. Lithic sourcing and luminescence dating of lithics has been the focus of his past research. His thesis was a pilot study to see if rhyolite could be used for sourcing studies using LA-TOF-ICP-MS as the analytical tool. He used the results of this work to examine the interactions between past populations in the desert west. He is presently attending the University of Alberta in the Ph.D. programme in the Department of Anthropology. He has carried out research throughout California, including intensive work in the western Mojave Desert of California.

For his PhD research, he has extended the sampling methodologies that he developed for micro-sampling complex inorganic minerals and applying them to skeletal material. He has developed a statistical correction to counteract a serious interference that has previously prevented the use of laser ablation MC-ICP-MS for strontium isotopic analysis on human populations with low overall strontium content. Most subsistence strategies that rely on animal meat and/or products will have strontium concentrations too low to be sampled by laser ablation without this correction. He have also systematically sampled teeth and sections of long bones recovered from the Cis-Baikal region and using stable isotope and trace element analysis to track mobility in pre-historic populations. Micro-sampling of teeth has yielded improved temporal resolution in reconstructing the provenance of individuals at different points during their life. Micro-sampling of bone has not been successfully attempted before and holds great potential to further elucidate provenance and mobility patterns during the multiple points of the adult years of life as well as opening new avenues of research on diagenetic progression and correction. To test these new methods, he conducted an extensive survey of faunal, plant, and water samples from throughout major archaeological micro-regions of Cis-Baikal to develop a detailed bioavailable geochemical reference map to provenance human samples. Individuals from a number of smaller cemeteries were analyzed using micro-sampling methods and compared with this reference map to explore the types of movements undertaken during the Neolithic and Bronze Age. Surprising results showed significant movement between the Little Sea and Upper Lena micro-regions during the late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, but relatively little during the Early Neolithic. Little or no movement between the Little Sea and the Anagara Drainage or South Baikal was observed.


Scharlotta I and AW Weber. 2014. Mobility of middle Holocene foragers in the Cis-Baikal region, Siberia: Individual lifehistory approach, strontium ratios, rare earth and trace elements. In press. Quaternary International: Special Issue - Bridging Eurasia: Modes of mobility and sustainability in Central and East Asia since the Last Glacial Maximum.

Scharlotta I, Goriunova OI, and Weber AW. 2013. Microsampling of human bones for mobility studies: diagenetic impacts and potentials for elemental and isotopic research. Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 40: 4509-4527.

Scharlotta I. 2012. Geochemical Analysis of Human Mobility: Studying Hunter-Gatherer Mobility using Isotopic and Trace Elemental Analysis. Lambert Academic Publishing, Saarbrucken, Germany. (published version of dissertation).

Scharlotta I, Weber AW, OI Goriunova. 2012. Assessing hunter-gatherer mobility in Cis-Baikal, Siberia using LA-ICPMS: Methodological correction for laser interactions with calcium phosphate matrices and the potential for integrated LA-ICP-MS sampling of archaeological skeletal materials. In: I. Scharlotta, Geochemical Analysis of Human Mobility: Studying Hunter-Gatherer Mobility using Isotopic and Trace Elemental Analysis, Lambert Academic Publishing, pp. 108-154.

Scharlotta I., Weber AW. 2012. Spatial variability of biologically available 87Sr/86Sr, rare earth and trace elements in the Cis-Baikal region, Siberia: Evidence from modern environmental samples and small Neolithic and Early Bronze Age cemeteries. In I. Scharlotta, Geochemical Analysis of Human Mobility: Studying Hunter-Gatherer Mobility using Isotopic and Trace Elemental Analysis, Lambert Academic Publishing, pp. 193-243.

Bakail Hokkaido archaeology project