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Durham University

Department of Archaeology


Publication details for Professor Janet Montgomery

Johnson, Lucie , Montgomery, Janet , Evans, Jane & Hamilton, Elliot (2019). Contribution of strontium to the human diet from querns and millstones: and experiment in digestive Sr-isotope uptake. Archaeometry 61(6): 1366-1381.

Author(s) from Durham


The question of whether rock grit ingested unintentionally from querns, metates or millstones or deliberately through pica or geophagy is bioaccessible in the human gut has not been addressed in archaeological Sr-isotope studies. This study employed the Unified Bioaccessibility Method and determined that ingested rock grit can provide bioaccessible 87Sr/86Sr, but that unintentional consumption is unlikely to constitute more than 1% of the diet (by mass) and will not significantly change, i.e. by > 0.001, human skeletal 87Sr/86Sr. The use of locally or non-locally sourced querns or millstones will not affect the interpretation of archaeological human 87Sr/86Sr values in Britain.

Keywords: Strontium, 87Sr/86Sr, bioaccessible, quern, millstone, grinding stone, metates, human diet, Millstone Grit, Pennant sandstone, Eskdale granite.