“Integrated aDNA, Sr-O-C isotope data and 14C dates to link human individuals to Roman military units” proposal has been granted!

Recently, Dr. Lisette Kootker and Maura De Coster MA (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) successfully applied for Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure Fast Track Call – 2021. The research proposal titled “Integrated aDNA, Sr-O-C isotope data and 14C dates to link human individuals to Roman military units” was written in collaboration with Dr. Wouter Vos (Vos Archeo/Saxion) and Dr. Gertjan Plets (Utrecht University) and focussed on AMS radiocarbon dating 27 adult individuals from the unique Roman cemetery of Valkenburg Marktveld to establish an essential and reliable dating framework that will contribute to understanding the human history at the Marktveld site. The Europlanet 2024 RI, funded by Horizon 2020, enables the Constructing the Limes team to perform the analyses at HEKAL’s radiocarbon laboratory at Isotoptech in Hungary through Europlanet’s Transnational Access (TA) programme.

This project will link human genetic data with geochemical data (87Sr/86Sr, d18O, d13C) to identify possible geolocations of origin. Preliminary results of the ongoing geochemical work on the human remains show a high degree of inter-population and intra-individual mobility.  Historical texts mention the presence of different army units in the associated auxiliary fort: Gallic and/or “Germanic” units until AD 69/70, and Cohors IV Thracum Equitata, an infantry and cavalry regiment from modern Bulgaria, manned the fort after AD 70. Hence, with the addition of the 14C dates, it will become possible to map the changing cultural and socio-political background of the individuals occupying the fort and neighbouring settlement. It would be the first time that the novel combination of aDNA, geochemical methods, and AMS radiocarbon dates would be used for the reconstruction of mobility along and across the Roman border.