Human Environment and Bioarchaeology (HEBA) lab

The Human Environment and Bioarchaeology (HEBA) lab is housed in newly renovated lab spaces at the University of Vienna Geocenter. We focus on measurements of carbon (δ13C), nitrogen (δ15N) and oxygen (δ18O) isotope ratios of archaeological and modern specimens, including bone, teeth, plants and organic residues in pottery, to address questions of palaeoenvironment, human diet, mobility, subsistence, plant cultivation and animal husbandry practices. 

Sample preparation

We have a fully equipped preparation lab including dry- and wet-lab areas with standard laboratory equipment for initial sample handling, preparation and pretreatment: drilling equipment, grinder, balances, freeze-drier, freezer, centrifuge, drying oven, water purifier, and filtration apparatus.

Other relevant research infrastructure housed in close proximity at the University of Vienna Geocenter includes archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological reference collections, portable x-ray fluorescence instrument, and FTIR.

Isotopic measurements

The measurements of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen stable isotope ratios are carried out at the SILVER lab of the University of Vienna Large-Instrument Facility for Advanced Isotope Research in the Life Sciences. SILVER is equipped to approach biological, ecosystem and environmental research questions based on stable isotope ratio techniques, interfacing front ends to isotope ratio mass spectrometers to measure bulk and compound-specific stable isotope ratios of hydrogen (H, D), carbon (13C, 12C), nitrogen (15N, 14N) and oxygen (18O, 16O) in water, trace gases, inorganic and organic compounds and more complex materials.

We also routinely conduct stable isotope analyses in archaeological materials via collaborations with the Isotope Mass Spectrometry Service (SSMIM) of Muséum national d’histoire naturelle and with the Organic Geochemistry Unit (OGU), School of Chemistry, University of Bristol.