Archaeological Micromorphology and Biomarker Research Lab, Instituto Universitario de Bio-Orgánica Antonio González (IUBO)
Avenida Astrofísico Francisco Sánchez,2, 38206, La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain

Tammy Buonasera

As a post-doctoral researcher for PALEOCHAR, I am investigating the deposition and preservation of pyrolyzed animal fats in Middle Paleolithic hearth sediments. My work employs molecular and isotopic techniques like GC/MS and CSIA to identify animal residues. Similar techniques of organic residue analysis have become indispensable for investigating the past uses of ceramics. Targeting hearths and combustion features could allow organic residue analysis to address a wider range of human adaptations, over a longer temporal span, than is currently possible with ceramics. Another important aim of this project is to conduct molecular and isotopic analyses on a microstratigraphic scale, allowing us to associate specific residues with short-term events.

I am broadly interested in economic and social implications of food processing and fuel consumption among hunter-gatherers. Processing animal products through pulverization and heating, or burning bones as fuel, can increase the total amount of energy available to humans, but relative costs and benefits are likely to vary in different settings. The PALEOCHAR project allows me to pursue methods that will help investigate these issues deep in time.