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Durham University

Department of Archaeology


Publication details for Dr Andrew R Millard

Millard, AR (2006). Comment on Martinez-Garcia et al. 'Heavy metals in human bones in different historical epochs'. Science of the Total Environment 354(2-3): 295-297

Author(s) from Durham


Martínez-García et al. (Sci. Tot Env. 348:51–72) have examined heavy metal exposure of humans in the Cartagena region using analysis of archaeological bones. An analysis of the lead and iron levels they report shows that they are physiologically implausible and must therefore result from diagenesis. This, and analogy with the known diagenetic origin of certain other elements, suggests that the other metal analyses they report are also unlikely to be in vivo concentrations. Lifetime heavy metal exposure cannot be deduced from diagenetically altered concentrations.