Movement represents a fundamental aspect of an individual’s life. Whether it is linked to a daily routine or to a major change in one’s life, studying movement of people is key to gaining a better understanding of their everyday life and the reasons driving/forcing them to move from one point to another. Strontium isotope analysis (87Sr/86Sr) are now commonly measured on tooth enamel to track mobility and migration of past human and animal populations, as well as gaining insights into landscape use, exchanges, and trade. Next to strontium, oxygen isotope ratios can also provide information on the origin of humans and animals. However, due to the very high temperatures reached during cremation (up to 1000°C), the oxygen isotope ratios are heavily altered during burning. Fortunately, strontium isotope ratios remain unchanged during cremation, and calcined bone (fully white bone burned at temperatures above 650°C) provides reliable strontium isotope ratios even after being buried for several millennia. As such it become possible to study ancient mobility in population that practiced both cremation and inhumation offering an opportunity to look at mobility and landscape use across Europe using a diachronic approach. The increasing use of strontium isotope analysis on human and animal remains is creating a large amount of data that is not always straightforward to interpret. Adequate databases (e.g. www.isoarch.eu) and baselines (often called biologically available strontium baselines) are needed to assess if an individual was “local” or not. Such baselines are not always available, or not detailed enough, and require further development. This presentation will present several case studies and discuss the challenges and limitations for the study of mobility and landscape use in Europe.

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