Laboratoire méditerranéen de préhistoire Europe Afrique (LAMPEA) — UMR 7269 — Université d’Aix-Marseille, CNRS, INRAP

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Plateforme Biochimie

Biochemistry Unit

Established in 2010, the Biochemistry Unit of the LAMPEA is dedicated to research activities in Physical Anthropology and Bioarchaeology. The unit facilitates preparation of archaeological materials, such as human, animal and plant remains, for stable isotope analysis (C, N, S, O), and more recently for Sr analysis, to study paleodiet, palaeoenvironment and human behavior through time and space.

Research activities supported by the unit include archaeological case studies across entire France (e.g. Southern France, Auvergne, Normandy, Isère, Paris Basin, Corsica) and in other countries (e.g., Balkans, Caucasus, Czech Republic, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Pacific Islands, Peru, Switzerland and Siberia).

Permanent staff

 Guy ANDRE – Engineer CNRS
 Gwenaëlle GOUDE – Researcher CNRS
 Estelle HERRSCHER – Researcher CNRS

Sample preparation

The unit allows sample preparation, such as collagen and apatite extraction, micro-sampling or laser-ablation sample pretreatment, for bio- and geochemical anlytical tests.

The available laboratory equipment includes fume hood for chemical treatment, ultrasonic bath, sandblaster, vibratory micro mill, centrifuges, heating block, freeze dryer, –80°C freezer, laboratory refrigerator, drying cabinets, sterilizer, safety cupboard, washer-disinfector, analytical balance, microbalance, and water filtration system.
The unit also supports the preparation of thin sections of many materials (precision micro-saw), preparation of casts, coating and polishing.

Technique of sequential micro-sampling

A recent addition to the scope of work supported by the Biochemistry Unit is research on carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes using the technique of sequential micro-sampling of human tooth dentine from middle Holocene hunter–gatherers in the Baikal region.

The goal of this work is to establish high-resolution dietary history of early human life from birth to c. 15–20 years of age (Scharlotta et al. 2018a, 2018b, Goude et al. 2020).

Extraction of Strontium

In 2020, the Biochemistry Unit at LAMPEA acquired new technical skills to infer on palaeomobility issues thanks to a technical competence transfer from LGL-TPE (Coll. Vincent Balter) realised to the LAMPEA by Marie Linglin (PhD Sutdent), Christina Cheung (post-doc ANR NEOGENRE) and Leïa Mion (CDD CNRS).
Located in one of the ARKAIA labs (MMSH, Aile C), this new lab is specifically installed with a fume hood compatible with strong acid, implemented with two acid distillers (HCl, HNO3). This clean-room is equipped with two laminar flow clean air benches fitted with HEPA filter to permit the extraction of strontium and calcium. Samples are then sent for analysis, for instance to the National CNRS-INSU platform at Lyon. A test run and first samples were prepared with success for the NEOGENRE Project and a AMU doctoral research.

The Biochemistry Unit has been supported through grants from Aix-Marseille University, CNRS INEE, A*MIDEX, ANR (ORIMIL, NEOGENRE, HOMES), Institut Danone France/Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale.


 Varalli A, Desideri J, David-Elbiali M, Goude G, Honegger M, and Besse M. 2021. Bronze Age innovations and impact on human diet : A multi-isotopic and multi-proxy study of western Switzerland. PLOS ONE 16(1):e0245726.
 Fenner JN, Herrscher E, Valentin F, and Clark G. 2021. An Isotopic Analysis of Late Lapita and State Period Diets in Tonga. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 13:22 :
 Goude G, Salazar-García DC, Power RC, Rivollat M, Gourichon L, Deguilloux M-F, Pemonge M-H, Bouby L, and Binder D. 2020. New insights on Neolithic food and mobility patterns in Mediterranean coastal populations. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 173(2):218-235.
 Goude G, Dori I, Sparacello V, Starnini E, and Varalli A. 2020 Multi-proxy stable isotope analyses of dentine microsections reveal diachronic changes in life history adaptations, mobility, and tuberculosis-induced wasting in prehistoric Liguria (Finale Ligure, Italy, northwestern Mediterranean). International Journal of Palaeopathology 28:99-111.
 Rey L, Salazar-García DC, Chambon Ph, Santos F, Rottier S, and Goude G. 2019. A multi-isotope analysis of Neolithic human groups in the Yonne valley, Northern France : insights into dietary patterns and social structure. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 11(10):5591-5616.
 Mion L, Herrscher E, André G, Hernandez J, Donat R, Fabre M, Forest V, and Salazar-García DC. 2018. The influence of religious identity and socio-economic status on diet over time, an example from medieval France. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences:10.1007/s12520-12018-10754-z.
 Herrscher E, Fenner JN, Valentin F, Clark G, Reepmeyer C, Bouffandeau L, and André G. 2018. Multi-isotopic analysis of first Polynesian diet (Talasiu, Tongatapu, Kingdom of Tonga). Journal of Archaeological Science : Reports 18:308-317.
 Scharlotta I, Goude G, Herrscher E, Bazaliiskii V, and Weber A. 2018b. Shifting weaning practices in Early Neolithic Cis-Baikal, Siberia : New insights from stable isotope analysis of molar micro-samples. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology DOI : 10.1002/oa.2708.
 Scharlotta I, Goude G, Herrscher E, Bazaliiskii VI, and Weber AW. 2018a. “Mind the gap”—Assessing methods for aligning age determination and growth rate in multi-molar sequences of dietary isotopic data. American Journal of Human Biology 30(5):e23163. DOI:23110.21002/ajhb.23163.
 Herrscher E, Poulmarc’h M, Pecqueur L, Jovenet E, Benecke N, Decaix A, Lyonnet B, Guliyev F, and André G. 2018. Dietary inferences through stable isotope analysis of Neolithic and Bronze Age humans in the Southern Caucasus (6th-1st millennium BC, Mentesh Tepe, Azerbaijan). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 167(4):856-875.
 Goude G, Salazar-García DC, Power RC, Terrom J, Rivollat M, Deguilloux M-F, Pemonge M-H, Le Bailly M, Andre G, Coutelas A et al. 2018. A Multidisciplinary Approach to Neolithic Life Reconstruction. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory:1-24 ;
 Goude G, Clarke J, Webb JM, Frankel D, Georgiou G, Herrscher E, and Lorentz KO. 2018. Exploring the potential of human bone and teeth collagen from Prehistoric Cyprus for isotopic analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science : Reports 22:115-122.
 Herrscher E, Goude G, and Metz L. 2017. Longitudinal study of stable Isotope compositions of maternal milk and implications for the palaeo-diet of infants. Bulletins et Mémoires de la Société d’Anthropologie de Paris 29(3-4):131-139.


 Dr Christina CHEUNG – ANR Post-doctoral fellow (2019-2020)
 Dr Teresa FERNANDEZ-CRESPO – Marie-Curie (2019-2021)
 Dr Roman HOVSEPYAN – Acad. Sciences, Yerevan, Armenia (Feb-May 2016)
 Dr Jelena JOVANOVIC – ERC BIRTH researcher (from 2014)
 Dr Leïa MION – CNRS Contract (2020-2022)
 Dr Domingo SALAZAR-GARCIA – UCT researcher (2015)
 Dr Ian SCHARLOTTA – AMU post-doctoral fellow (2016-2017)
 Dr Alessandra VARALLI – Fyssen post-doctoral fellow (2016-2017)
 Dr Esther VERDUN - Post-doctoral fellow (2015-2017)
 Prof. Andrzej WEBER – A*MIDEX programme researcher (2015-2017)


 Justine AUFILS – Master 1 AMU (2019-2020)
 Camille de BECDELIEVRE – Marie-Curie ITN (2014-2015)
 Cihan BELTEPE – Master Student, Univ Istanbul,Turquey (Oct-Nov 2016)
 Camille BARBOSA - Master 2, Univ Paris I, Nanterre (2014-2015)
 Sara BERNARDINI – Master student Erasmus training (2016), Uni. Roma La Sapienza , PhD candidate AMU (2019-2021)
 Arthur CARLIER – Master student AMU (2012-2013)
 Solène CHEVALLIER – Master 1 AMU (2020-2021)
 Julie DEBARD – PhD candidate Univ. Genève (2017-2020)
 Gabriela DELON – Master Univ. Toulouse (2018-2019)
 Martin DOPPELT – PhD candidate Univ. of Chicago (2016-2017)
 Gabriella CAMARGO – Master 2, Univ Paris I, Nanterre (2019-2020)
 Sylva KAUPOVA – PhD candidate Univ Charles (Rep. Czeck)-AMU (2011-2017)
 Marie LINGLIN - Doctorante AMU (2018-2021)
 Johan LHEUREUX – Master 2 AMU (2010-2011)
 Valentin MICLON – Master Univ Bordeaux, PhD candidate Univ Tours (2015-2020)
 Leïa MION – Master 1 Paris MNHN, Master 2 AMU, PhD candidate AMU (2013-2019)
 Zineb MOUBTAHIJ – undergraduate student (INSAP – Morocco)
 Léonie REY– PhD candidate Bordeaux Univ. (2013-2017)
 Déborah ROSSELET – Master student Univ. Genève (2017)
 Alessandra VARALLI – PhD candidate LabexMed (2011-2015)