On Sunday 19th August 2018, FINDER project, along with colleagues from the University of Copenhagen, Prof. Matthew Collins and Dr Frido Welker, organised a round table workshop on the current status, challenges and future prospects of peptide mass fingerprinting of archaeological collagen, the method also know as ZooArchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS).
The development and application of ZooMS has led to numerous research projects and international collaborations over the past decade. These have broad chronological range and geographical spread and a wide scope, from the identification of early human fossils (FINDER’s main scope) to research on animals domestication or the use of specific animals and their byproducts in prehistoric and historic times. The use of ZooMS offers obvious advantages to the traditional zooarchaeological or more sophisticated genetic approaches. It is a fast, cheap and therefore a widely applicable methodology that requires minimum setup for sample preparation.
Contrasted with its potential, the technique has so far been only applied in a handful of laboratories in northern Europe and the USA, and little effort has been made to systematize the preparative protocols and the way results are communicated, managed and archived.
With this 1st meeting we brought together experts who intend to develop and/or apply ZooMS, at a current or new facility. Our aim was to integrate past experience with present knowledge and with the increasing number of studies using the method in archaeology, cultural heritage, ecology and conservation.
We discussed and agreed upon the creation of an International Network for ZooMS (IN-ZooMS), designed to encourage knowledge transfer between facilities and countries, foster open-access principles and create a platform for discussing best practices, eventually allowing synergies, across-lab collaborations and joint funding opportunities. One of the main requests was the need for open-access, peptide fingerprint reference databases with a wide coverage of traditional as well as less researched regions.
The powerpoint slides, as well as and the programme of the ensuing conference Ancient Proteins @20, can be found on the link below:
More information on IN-ZooMS will follow soon, but for now, some pictures from the day.